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Report of the Second Meeting of the Coordination Committee.
The Second meeting of the Coordination Committee of the MedSudMed Project (Assessment and monitoring of the fishery resources and the ecosystems in the Straits of Sicily) was attended by representatives of participating countries (Tunisia, Malta, Libya, Italy) and other interested parties. The meeting sought to present and discuss the results of the activities carried out by the Project referring to the period September 2002 - December 2003. The outcome to date on all field research activities and strengthening national capacity building was presented, relative to the main areas of Project activity: spatial distribution of demersal resources in the Project area and the influence of environmental factors and fishery characteristics, small pelagic fish: stock identification and oceanographic processes influencing their abundance and distribution, marine protected areas as a tool for fisheries management. In particular, the results of the related expert consultations were presented, as well as the regional experts recommendations on the activities to be implemented in the next future. As a result, the work plan for the coming period was commented and approved by the participants who discussed issues touching working methodology, field work to be conducted, data processing and training in the field and at laboratory. The importance of standardizing the methodologies was stressed and considered fundamental for the Project purposes. The Project was encouraged to organize cooperative field research to provide information at regional level. The meeting was also updated on the achievements related to the regional database and information system. Future developments regarding the finalization of several modules were agreed upon and considered highly relevant by the delegates. The delegates expressed their satisfaction with the work achieved to date and with the work plan adopted and encouraged the Project to make every effort to continue strengthening the scientific cooperation between the participating countries.