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Taking into consideration the conclusions reached at the last meeting of the former Working Party on Fishery Statistics and Economics of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the newly established Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the GFCM invited its Sub-Committee on Social Science to initiate work to set up a database on socio-economic indicators. It recommended to start with a pilot assessment study for a management unit. The Alboran Sea was chosen for the pilot study as it encompasses stocks shared between a developing (Morocco) and a developed (Spain) country, as well as a wide range of fishing operations typical of what can be find elsewhere in the Mediterranean. This would allow elaboration of a socio-economic indicator methodology that would be applicable across each of the GFCM management units and the Mediterranean as a whole.

Taking advantage of the framework provided by the FAO Visitors Scientists Programme, Dr. Ramón Franquesa joined FAO/FIPP and worked as main researcher for the pilot study from October to December 1999. Field work was carried out in the year 2000 with the support of Advice, Technical Support and Establishment of Cooperation Networks to Facilitate Coordination to Support Fisheries Management in the Western and Central Mediterranean (COPEMED). This document, prepared by a team of scientists under the leadership of Dr. Franquesa, reports on the outcome of the pilot study.