Weaknesses in scientific advice leading the European Commission to propose often controversial catch restrictions in European Union (EU) waters has prompted Brussels to propose a major overhaul of its assessment of stocks.

A new policy Communication proposes the creation of a new European advisory body, tasked with providing improved scientific analysis. Its work would be better targeted than at present, with less advice on low-risk situations and more focus on urgent conservation problems.

The report also suggests increased Commission participation in all fishing science bodies at national, EU and international levels. For instance, it wants the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea to become an advisory agency to the EU. Problems admitted by the Commission include the accuracy of catch data.