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General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

GFCM 60 Years (1952-2012) Serving The Mediterranean And The Black Sea

Founded in Rome in 1952, the purpose of the GFCM is to guarantee the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and to contribute to the preservation of the marine environment and ecosystems in this region.

The rationale behind the establishment of the GFCM was clearly expounded in 1952 by a former FAO Director-General, Mr. Norris E. Dodd, who affirmed at the opening of the very First Session of the GFCM:

“Sirs, I think that in the Mediterranean basin which is the cradle of our civilization, delegates from the countries of which it is composed should now meet to see how they can share one with the other their skills, their arts and their techniques and tackle together some of our modern problems.”

Fast forward to the present day and we find out that there are reasons to be satisfied for the work that was done thus far in various domains. Consistent with its mandate, the GFCM stands out for the results it has been achieving since its establishment in the conservation of fisheries as well as in the sustainable development of aquaculture. At the same time, inspired by a wide ranging integrated approach to maritime issues, the GFCM has not refrained from taking action to preserve the marine environment and ecosystems of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The GFCM has always been responsive to the needs of its Members providing technical assistance, hence contributing to create employment opportunities and promote sustainable development.

As Chairperson and Executive Secretary of the Commission, we will continue along these very lines to consolidate the work done in order to capitalize on the results obtained. In fact, the increasing functional autonomy of the Commission will allow us to meet even more efficiently the needs of our Members and to closely cooperate with our partners in the region. We are positive that thanks to our ever present commitment we will make the GFCM progressively more operative in the future.

In this context, we will make sure that the objectives of the Commission will be successfully reached and the GFCM will insist on encouraging regional cooperation. It will also keep on addressing marine and environmental ecosystems and their resources in a responsible manner.

We are confident that, owing in particular to the innovative approach brought about by the Task Force recently established to modernize the GFCM, the Commission will efficiently face those challenges posed by the current status of marine capture fisheries and aquaculture. The Commission will strongly promote sustainable development through policies which will prove receptive to issues such as food security, poverty eradication and jobs creation. For this very purpose, the First GFCM Framework Programme will endow the Commission with an instrument aimed at addressing the priorities of its Members while providing the adequate support to the needs of the sub-regions in the GFCM area of competence.

We take this opportunity to thank the FAO for the valuable and continuous support it has provided to the GFCM over this 60 years. We thank in particular those who served the Council first and the Commission later and hence contributed to its growth.

This publication is dedicated to two Executive Secretaries of the Commission that have passed away, Mr. Habib Ben Alaya (Tunisia) and Mr. Alain Bonzon (France). They both devoted a momentous effort to ensure the growth of the GFCM in crucial moments. Their contribution will always be remembered and appreciated.

Stefano Cataudella
GFCM Chairperson

Abdellah Srour
GFCM Executive Secretary