Minutes Blankenberge

(Nov 27-29 2009)

Participants: Pierre-André Crochet (CAF France), Andrew Harrop (UK, BOURC) Rolland Kern, Gabor Simai (RC Hungary), Patric Lorgé (AERC, RC Luxembourg), Ray Tipper (RC Portugal), Visa Rauste (RC Finland), Laurent Vallotton (RC Switzerland), Marnix Vandegehuchte (AERC, RC Belgium), Joris Elst, Wouter Faveyts, René Marie Lafontaine, Laurent Raty, Geert Spanoghe (Belgium).
* present on Saturday, ** joined Saturday afternoon

Friday, 27.11.2009

After a rainy venue participants had an opening discussion on different themes about past and present about AERC:
What are national RCs expecting from AERC ?
- Guidelines
- Exchange of information
- TAC recommendations
It became obvious that a charta on AERCs' functioning would be useful (for example how decisions are taken and validated, agreements or votes ?)
Tasks for future:
- charta (constitution) on AERC functioning and decision-taking processes (Gerd Spanoghe, Patric Lorgé)
- Secretariat
Finance: at this moment, AERC has 2000 € on its account, but some of the conference costs have to be paid (conference room, coffee breaks, hotel costs of Hungarian representants). For the future the annual costs for the Internet will be taken in charge by Marnix.
Tasks for future:
- Search for sponsor(s) for forthcoming meetings.
Secretariat: Tom Conzemius announced is retirement from AERC-Secretariat, which is led by Marnix (webpage, mailing list) and Patric (secretarial work, organization). Marnix is preparing the launch of the new webpage and therefore was asking via the mailing list for actualisation of national RC contacts. The mailing list participants should also be kept updated, the forum could be used in the future for working-groups, but not for general discussions. There was a discussion if AERC would need a chairman: the meeting agreed, that it would be better to designate persons responsible for certain missions.
P-A. Crochet proposed to accept new members from WP countries outside Europe (e.g. Morocco, Israel, Egypt,... ) into the AERC. The meeting agreed on helping to set up new RC in countries without any committees.
Tasks for future:
- better communication from secretariat to the members
- helping new RC in eastern European countries (coordination Colin Bradshaw)
- accepting new countries as members of AERC
- European List
Participants discussed the need of a European list and came to conclusion, that 2010 (International Year of Biological Diversity) would suit to publish a European list. Pierre-André Crochet and Ricard Gutierrez will take the lead. Participants agreed to use the sequence of the www.worlbirdnames.com (except where AERC TAC reached different conclusions) to get a maximum cooperation of national RC. The list should include information on the categories the species are included in each country, but not the number of records.
Tasks for future:
- Pierre André Crochet will prepare the list and sent it to Secretariat who will forward it to RC
- RC are requested to only fill in information on categories (no numbers of records)
- RC send information back to Marnix who will compare the list and publish it on the new webpage

Saturday, 28.11.2009

- AERC Taxonomic Advisory Committee
P-A. Crochet summarized TACs work with the compilation of Gunter de Smets' document including the votes of each committee. Laurent Raty took over this document and added several comments. The TAC used the input of the 5 national TAC (UK, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, France), but the work was delayed because of the writing of texts, which often ended in a disaccord of what was written.
P-A. Crochet suggested publishing a short version, using the voting system that had been agreed by voting on the mailing list. A. Harrop strongly recommended adding references of published articles. This text should be published in early 2010.
Participants decided :
- To set up an AERC-TAC steering committee made of L Raty and P.-A. Crochet. This should simply allow to move forward on the TAC recommendations and WP list.
- To set up an independent taxonomic committee made up of a number of individuals experts (hence different by nature from the current TAC structure) to provide recommendations on WP taxa for which there were too few votes among the TAC members. The only two TAC members to deal with WP list are France and Sweden. The other 3 (UK, Germany and Netherlands) do not usually provide recommendations that do not affect in a way or another their national list (for expl. UK would consider splits of extralimital taxa currently belonging to a species on the British list, such as the status of the Azores Bullfinch but would not consider the generic arrangements of the sunbirds of the WP). P.-A. Crochet volunteered to set up this committee.
Future tasks:
- Prepare TAC document to be published on the new AERC website (P-A. Crochet, L. Raty)
- Publish it !
- Set up a steering committee for AERC TAC for future work, P-A. Crochet was named as coordinator for this group.
- Categorisation - Guidelines
Category C:
Participants felt that precise recommendations for cat C admission were needed, and that AERC should work with other bodies to provide such guidelines. But there has been no precise agreement.
Future tasks:
- AERC will work on providing guidelines for C categorization, if possible before the end of 2010. These guidelines should be discussed among interested people. ((A. Harrop agreed, to lead the writing of the guidelines (together with people such as the Spannish exotic species working group, the German working group on exotic species, Frédéric Jiguet and others to be determined))
- Guidelines for category C should be published before end of 2010
Category D:
The Hungarian RC gave a short presentation in which they described their subdivision of Category D into Da (almost certainly wild origin; on the list) and De (almost certainly an escape; not on the list). This lead to some discussions, as some species would then enter (for example Chinese Pond Heron) the WP list or not. The conclusion was that cat D species would remain outside the list.
This topic caused prolonged discussions (on the way AERC, i.e. this meeting could take decisions and on the other on the subject itself). A. Harrop recommended that since BOURC is currently looking at the issue, further discussion should await the outcome of these deliberations.
The following proposition was discussed:
- Only species considered capable of making an unassisted crossing should be accepted in cat A (otherwise cat E)
- Individuals that are known to have been provisioned, sheltered or retrained in any way should not be accepted in cat A (but cat E indeed)
- Simple presence on a ship is not in itself a bar to acceptance
Future tasks:
- Prepare guidelines to promote equal treatment of transatlantic vagrancy among European RCs (BOURC position on ship assistance).
- Guidelines for category C should be published before end of 2010
Addendum: A. Harrop agreed, to lead the writing of the guidelines (together with people such as the Spannish exotic species working group, the German working group on exotic species, Frédéric Jiguet and others to be determined) The mailing list could be used to discuss these guidelines before posting on the web site.
- Next meeting
Ray Tipper proposed to held the next meeting in late autumn 2011 in Portugal (possibilities for sponsoring via the tourism board of Portugal ?)
(Topics: Guidelines, Categorisation, how to deal with claims not reported to RC but published f.expl. on the Internet, sharta/statuts, ...)
Patric Lorgé AERC Secretariat