After a week of discussions, members of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (CGPM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) adopted a series of recommendations and binding decisions on a number of regional priorities.
Concerted action to ensure a sustainable future for fishing
Fisheries and aquaculture have been major socio-economic drivers in the region and over the past ten years, an evolution in the state of stocks is under ever-increasing human pressure with 75% of fish stocks affected by overfishing (SOME 2020).
Sustainable management of resources is a priority for countries in order to ensure food security and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of people. Among the decisions taken by the authority was the adoption of a proposal by the Moroccan delegation to launch a research program on the spread of jellyfish species in the western Mediterranean, in the form of a resolution.
Jellyfish breeding is a growing concern in the Mediterranean because fish stocks are constantly rising as sea temperatures are drastically increasing. The research program proposed by Morocco will dedicate research to specific species causing negative impacts on the fishing, aquaculture and tourism industries on the basis of developing a scientific methodology that could serve as a basis for replication in the entire basin.
Improving the culture of compliance
Since the effectiveness of the adopted recommendations depends on their regular transfer into the national legislation of the countries, the General Authority for Fisheries also strives to establish a culture of respect for the rules and mutual trust in order to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. For the first time, countries have established general rules governing trans-shipment operations in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, resulting in a blanket ban, except in cases of force majeure. In addition, following the successful completion of the pilot phase, management measures to reduce IUU fishing were strengthened through the implementation of long-term permanent inspection plans applicable until 2030.
The 70th anniversary of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean was celebrated
The forum was inaugurated by the Albanian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Frida Krilka, and Director of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO. Food and Agriculture, Dr. Manuel Barang. The latter spoke on behalf of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and it was an opportunity to recall the evolution of the General Fisheries Commission in its current dimension as a modern and effective regional fisheries management organization. Dr. Manuel Baratage said that the history of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean is full of achievements.
What remains consistent is the support that FAO provides to the General Fisheries Commission, which has finally enabled it to transform itself into a committee that adapts to the needs of its members. The President of the General Fisheries Authority for the Mediterranean, Roland Christou, added “this work is for all of us and for those who preceded us, as we were able to reach the point where we are today.”
“It is now up to us to guide the General Fisheries Commission into a future better equipped than ever, but also in the face of some of the greatest challenges in our history,” said Christou.
A new Executive Secretary of the General Authority for Fisheries, whose appointment has been unanimously approved by the members of the Authority, will be responsible for implementing the policies and activities of the General Authority for Fisheries, and managing its secretariat on behalf of the members. Waiting for update and evaluation All eyes of those involved in the fishing sector are looking forward to December 7, the date of the release of the Region's Fisheries Update, to ascertain whether the region is on the right track, and to address the plight of fisheries in the face of many pressures on the ecosystem from climate change to plastic pollution. Fish Resources is a regional fisheries management organization of the Food and Agriculture Organization, whose areas of competence include all waters of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Its main task is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture and is composed of 23 contracting parties.
This story was produced with support from Internews' Earth Journalism Network. It was first published in آفاق بيئية (Maroc Environnement) in Arabic on 30 November 2022. It has been translated into English and lightly edited for length and clarity.
Banner image: Jellyfish underwater, 2022 / Credit: Tormius via Unsplash.