A new solid strategy for sustainable fishing and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
July 9, 2021, Rome – An ambitious commitment adopted today by 22 countries and the European Union aims to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu opened the launch event, highlighting the strategy’s alignment with FAO’s new strategic framework and its importance in these difficult times. The strategy was launched in a virtual meeting, bringing together ministers and high-level representatives from Mediterranean and Black Sea countries.
The launch of the Strategy 2030 of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is accompanied by the support of many intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and marks the start of a critical decade of development for both sectors.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit fishing and aquaculture activities hard in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, with substantial declines in operations, production and drastic drops in prices for aquatic products,” Qu said. “In rebuilding, we must ensure that recovery efforts focus on the long-term sustainability and resilience of the sector. “
Qu commended the GFCM for helping Members address the significant challenges currently facing Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries. He noted that the new GFCM strategy to 2030 will play a key role in continuing these efforts, as well as in protecting livelihoods derived from artisanal fisheries. He also underlined FAO’s willingness to support the efforts of the GFCM, in particular through its COVID-19 response and recovery program. The Director-General said that FAO’s new Strategic Framework for the Next Decade offers a clear path to sustainably transform all agrifood systems – including fisheries and aquaculture – to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.
In his speech, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, stressed the need for countries to continue working together to protect their seas and oceans, while Foteini Arampatzi, Greek Deputy Minister for rural development and food, highlighted the impact of COVID. -19 before officially declaring the event open.
Fisheries and aquaculture play a vital role in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region, supporting hundreds of thousands of livelihoods and providing nutritious food to millions of people. However, sectors face growing challenges from climate change, overfishing and IUU fishing, and serious action is needed to conserve fish stocks and other resources, on which so many depend.
The past five years have seen encouraging progress. GCFM has adopted a a strong set of conservation and management measures to protect living marine resources and convene a number of technical meetings pioneers in the development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and the protection of marine ecosystems at regional and sub-regional levels. Bottom-up engagement with fishermen in the field and cutting-edge technical input from scientists and other experts were supported by ministerial commitments on improving fisheries governance and financing of the aquaculture sector by rapid growth.
The GFCM Strategy 2030 will take this progress to the next level, building on the lessons learned so far and accelerating efforts to address the many challenges that remain. It is the result of a participatory process involving all member countries of the GFCM and a broad consultation of stakeholders, which has enabled it to address real issues and respond to the most urgent priorities in both sectors. .
In his opening speech, CGPM Executive Secretary Abdellah Srour drew attention to the achievements made so far and hailed the new strategy as an important framework for future action, adding that its endorsement was a defining moment in the history of the Commission.
General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean
The GFCM is a regional fisheries management organization established under the auspices of FAO. With 22 member countries and the EU, its main objective is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The GFCM plays an essential role in the governance of fisheries within its scope, having the power to adopt binding recommendations for the conservation and management of fisheries and for the development of aquaculture, including the regulation of methods of fishing gear, fishing gear and minimum landing size, as well as the establishment of spatial protection measures, control of fishing effort and multiannual management plans for certain fisheries.