General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea - RPOA-SSF

The RPOA-SSF is a political commitment setting forth an ambitious roadmap for the ten years from 2018-2028. It prescribes concrete and coherent measures to address challenges and reinforce opportunities for small-scale fisheries, including by giving fishers a voice in the decisions that affect their livelihoods, by safeguarding environmentally sustainable fishing practices and by providing economic, social and employment benefits.

The RPOA-SSF was signed as a Ministerial Declaration by high-level representatives from 18 Mediterranean and Black Sea countries, as well as the European Union, on 26 September 2018. This declaration took shape at the end of a long process involving all stakeholders. It is a historic step for the region and a concrete commitment to ensure the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability for small-scale fisheries within the next decade.

The RPOA-SSF puts forth actions to be taken in line with the following nine key topics:

  • Scientific research
    • Research on: socio-economic impact of SSF, interactions with marine ecosystems/recreational fisheries
    • Engage fishers in scientific monitoring
    • Adaptation to climate change
  • Small-scale fisheries data
    • Participatory data collection systems
    • National fleet registers including SSF
    • Integrate fisher Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) in management
  • Small-scale fisheries management measures
    • Access rights (i.e. access to resouces, to landing sites)
    • Selectivity and biodiversity preservation (i.e. minimize bycatch, preserve essential fish habitats)
    • Technology and equipment (i.e. communications/navigation equipment, catch preservation, gear traceability)
    • Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (i.e. participatory surveillance)
  • Small-Scale fisheries value chain
    • Strengthen producer organizations, including through improving market access and profitability
    • Promote first processing by fishers and direct sales
    • Raise consumer awareness and promote certification and traceability
  • Participation of small-scale fisheries in decision-making processes
    • Co-management
    • Participation: MPA management and MSP processes
    • Reinforce legislation for participatory approaches
    • Synergies between SSF and other marine economies, including recreational fisheries
  • Capacity-building
    • SSF platforms
    • Access to funding, eduction/training
    • Livelihood diversification
    • Technical assitance and information sharing 
  • Decent work
    • Ensure decent work and improve conditions (ILO C188)
    • Social protection
  • Role of women
    • Equal participation in decision-making
    • Specific projects targeting women
  • Climate and environment
    • SSF within framework of nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
    • Support SSF communities affected by climate change or disasters
    • Innovative solutions for valorization and utilization of NIS
    • Circular economy: disposal of marine litter and recycling of recovered nets


Read the RPOA-SSF (PDF): En | Fr

Read the Ministerial Declaration













Offering support to small-scale fishers and fish workers to further develop their capacities and skills 

The GFCM has launched the Small-Scale Fishers’ Forum initiative, aka the “SSF Forum”, as a priority joint action to respond to the "Capacity-building" recommendation within the RPOA-SSF. The SSF Forum currently takes the shape of a dedicated virtual platform that gathers a series of online workshops designed to offer small-scale fishers and fish workers from around the region the opportunity to share good practices and learn from one another.