First OSPAR Fish Biodiversity Assessment Workshop

3 March 2020

A Fish Biodiversity Assessments Workshop was held in Dublin in February 2020 under the auspices of OSPAR's Biological Diversity & Ecosystems Committee and ICG-COBAM. Fish are an important component of the North-East Atlantic Ecosystem, however since fish are monitored by many different institutes, and assessed differently depending on whether they are commercially used species, concluding on a coherent approach to assessments of this biodiversity component in OSPAR required in depth conceptual discussions at this workshop.

The workshop was attended by experts on fish assessments, nominated by the Contracting Parties to OSPAR.

The workshop developed a proposed list of the fish species which OSPAR would focus assessments on. The list includes threatened and/or declining species, as well as more commonly occurring species. However, to ensure consistency and effectiveness of assessment work, the workshop proposed that fish species which are commercially used would only be assessed in OSPAR by using third-party assessments, such as assessments developed by ICES. Fish assessments are based on large datasets, and the workshop also made good progress in developing operational data flows to make sure assessments are run effectively.

The workshop outputs as proposals for which species of fish to assess in OSPAR and how to compile and prepare the QSR 2023 assessments on fish, will be discussed and agreed on at the next meeting of the Biodiversity Committee. A second Fish Biodiversity Assessment Workshop has been planned for the summer of 2021 when fish experts will come together to develop the assessments themselves.