General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Activities > Fisheries > Red coral

Red Coral © D. Salvatori

Red coral (Corallium rubrum) in the Mediterranean has experienced a decrease in landings over the past 20 years and, in some areas, its populations are nearly depleted. At the request of its members, GFCM has engaged in several actions over the past 4 years to develop a Regional Management Plan for Red Coral. Two recommendations have been issued in 2011 and 2012 as a temporary measure for the conservation of this highly valuable species from an ecological and economical point of view. In 2014 a document withGuidelines for the management of Mediterranean red coral populations in the Mediterranean was adopted by the GFCM members as a transitional measure towards the adoption of a Regional Management Plan which is being under development. Members at the 38th Session agreed that this resource deserve a specific research program to fill important gaps on the knowledge of its actual status in the whole region and proposed a series of priority lines of research in which experts of the area should get involved. Fundraising is needed to launch a comprehensive program to improve the knowledge of red coral in the Mediterranean.


Rec. GFCM/35/2011/2 on the exploitation of red coral in the GFCM competence area

This recommendation  prohibits the harvest of red coral at less than 50 m depth until scientific studies indicate otherwise and establishes that the hammer used by scuba divers is the only permitted gear for harvesting. Until 2015, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) can only be used for scientific purposes provided that they are not equipped with manipulator arms. The recommendation also states that fishers should record and report to national authorities daily catches and fishing effort by area and depths and make this information available to GFCM Secretariat so that it can be submitted to the consideration and advice of the SAC.  

Download the recommendation: En

Rec. GFCM/36/2012/1 on further measures for the exploitation of red coral in the GFCM area

This recommendation establishes that the legal minimum size for red coral colonies to be harvested, retained on board, transhipped, landed, transferred, stored, sold or displayed or offered for sale as raw product should be at least 7 mm diameter at the trunk, measured within one centimetre from the base of the colony. Amargin of tolerance of 10 % in live weight of undersized colonies is authorized and could be revised by the SAC on the basis of relevant studies. 

According to this recommendation, GFCM members should submit, no later than 31st January of each year starting with the 2013 harvesting season, data on red coral harvesting by means of electronic forms which have been developed by the GFCM Secretariat.

Download the recommendation: En

Data reporting

Information on the procedures to be followed for the submission of data on red coral is available in the data reporting section.