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A summary of the purpose of the Wales Whelk Advisory Group.

1. Purpose

1.1. The purpose of the Wales Whelk Advisory Group (WWAG) is to help the Welsh Government, improve and develop the whelk fishery through co-management. Welsh Ministers are directly responsible under relevant legislation for fisheries management in Wales. Stakeholders’ role in co-management of our fisheries is advisory, rather than a decision-making function. The advisory function is crucial in ensuring stakeholders views are part of the decision-making process.

1.2. The group will evaluate and provide feedback on the effectiveness of policies and plans relating to whelk fisheries management in Wales, including the whelk Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) once created.

1.3. The group will meet a minimum of twice a year:

  • June – review fishery performance in previous permit period and progress over the first quarter of the current permit period.
  • November – review findings of scientific surveys in current permit period, and proposals for following permit period including: Annual Catch Limit (ACL), initial Monthly Catch Limit (MCL), permit fee and any changes to permit conditions.

1.4. WWAG and other fishery specific groups will inform the strategic Ministerial Advisory Group for Welsh Fisheries (MAGWF) and keep them appraised of progress although there is no direct accountability.

2. Governance

2.1. Welsh Government officials will organise meetings and chair the group, setting out a clear direction.

2.2. A forward plan for the agenda will set out the work of the group but will retain an element of flexibility to include matters arising.  

2.3. Membership and the terms of reference of WWAG will be reviewed in November of each year.

3. Membership

3.1. Membership of the group will comprise of:

  • 6 whelk fishers representing both large and small scale operations from across Wales
  • 2 whelk buyers/processors
  • 1 Fisheries Scientist
  • 3 Welsh Government Fisheries Officials (Management, Enforcement & Science)
  • 1 Welsh Fishermen’s Association member
  • 1 Wales Environment Link representative
  • 1 Natural Resources Wales representative

3.2. The Welsh Government needs group members to represent the views of others, not just individual opinions.

3.3. Meetings are restricted to nominated members and not open to members of the general public.

3.4. At the invitation of the Chair, individuals from outside the group may be invited to attend specific meetings to discuss or present on a subject relevant to the whelk fishing industry or a particular item on the agenda. 

4. Ways of working

4.1. Members of WWAG will meet in June and November at predetermined dates, to be notified in advance. Occasionally there may be a requirement to hold extraordinary meetings of the Group in which case members will be given at least five working days notice.

4.2. To save time and allow flexibility, meetings will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams or similar. The Welsh Government will organise meetings and provide members details and joining instructions.

4.3. Agendas will normally be issued via email ten working days before meetings. Any papers will be provided at the earliest opportunity to allow appropriate consideration by members.

4.4. Members are expected to seek views of those they represent. Papers should not be sent to anyone external to their organisations without prior consent from Welsh Government. Any information sharing should also adhere to data protection requirements.

5. Secretariat

5.1. Secretariat will be provided by the Welsh Government’s Marine and Fisheries Division, who will act as a central point for all communications.

5.2. ‘Action’ style minutes will be taken of each meeting and shared with members for approval. All queries should be directed to the Secretariat.

5.3. All papers will be published on the Marine & Fisheries whelk fishery web pages once the minutes have been approved.