The WG-FSA Subgroup on VMEs was tasked with providing a draft template of a Report on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems to WG-EMM and WG-FSA in 2010. This paper provides a draft template, including the workplan and discussion. It has been compiled by the Subgroup for consideration at WG-EMM in 2010. The structure aims to follow the logic of the fishery reports already provided by WG-FSA: (i) Status of the fisheries, (ii) Knowledge on the fish stocks, (iii) Methods, (iv) Assessments of status and future catch limits, (v) Other Issues, and (vi) Advice. These topics have been tailored to suit the issue of VMEs, resulting in the following structure to replicate that approach: (i) Details of Bottom Fisheries, (ii) Details of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems, (iii) Assessments of VME Impacts, (iv) Management Strategies to conserve VMEs, and (v) Management Advice. The long lists of tasks currently before the Scientific Committee and its working groups have been embedded within this structure in order to give them a greater context than as the lists from our reports. This should help each working group prioritise the future work and identify the key methods, parameters or field strategies that need to be undertaken. Discussions to date would suggest that the report be routinely update each year in WG-FSA but with input from WG-SAM on the development of assessment and evaluation methods, and from WG-EMM on consideration of the objectives for VMEs and their ecology would occur in WG-EMM. The assessments and advice would arise from WG-FSA. It is envisaged that, following comments by WG-EMM, a draft report will be generated as far as possible for consideration by WG-FSA later in the year.
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