The 2002 Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform introduced the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) to enhance stakeholder involvement and correct one of the policy's primary deficiencies, its lack of legitimacy, arising in part from low stakeholder involvement. While some criticize the 2002 reform as not going far enough to alleviate problems of lagging process and content legitimacy, in certain ways the RACs may be thought of as representing an interim institutional stage, facilitating better information sharing and cultivating stakeholder relationships. Based on a survey of RAC participants, this paper illuminates the current capacities and functions of the RACs. The paper reveals that the RACs possess additional--often not sufficiently recognised--roles and values to the advice they produce as they facilitate understanding across and within sectors and interest groups and act as key purveyors of information. Additionally, the findings indicate that among those participating in the RACs, there are varying degrees of feelings of impact. Some participants recognize a positive change in EU fisheries governance, whereas others are sceptical of purported improvements.
M a S T. Maritime Studies, 2012, Vol 11, Issue 1, p. 1-20