Integrating Innovative Approaches for Competitive and Sustainable Performance across the Mediterranean Aquaculture Value Chain

41st Annual Session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean adopted important EU decisions for the recovery of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is a regional fisheries management organisation established under the provisions of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The main objective of the GFCM is to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use – at the biological, social, economic and environmental level – of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea.

The 41st Annual Session of the GFCM , organised in Budva, Montenegro, concluded on the 20th October 2017 after 5 days of intensive discussions. Regarded as the first concrete outcomes of the Malta MedFish4ever, a total of 14 decisions were adopted during the session, of which 10 were initiated by the EU. These decisions are considered of vital importance for the recovery of fish stocks and the protection of vulnerable habitats in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Some of the most notable measures include:

  • Supporting the establishment of a Fisheries Restricted Area in the Adriatic Sea (Pomo/Jabuka Pit)
  • A management plan for Black Sea turbot
  • Adoption of an international scheme for inspection in the Strait of Sicily
  • A regional Plan of Action to fight Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing
  • Implementation of a strategy for sustainable aquaculture

These measures are hoped to contribute towards reversing the alarming stock levels in the Mediterranean and Black Seas and thus boosting blue growth and sustainable livelihoods for these regions. In the words of European Commissioner Karmenu Vella, “this year’s GFCM session was a success with respect to our primary aim, that is improving the dire state of the stocks and ensuring a viable future for our fishers around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea”.

There were also several side events organised as part of GFCM 41, including an informative session introducing MedAid (Mediterranean Aquaculture Integrated Development) and PerformFish, as part of the theme of Improving knowledge and technical cooperation on Aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

GFCM will continue to promote collaboration between parties into 2018, with a number of key events already confirmed, including a High-level Conference on the Black Sea, a High-level conference on the regions’ small-scale fisheries and a Forum on Fisheries Science.

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