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General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

Countries and stakeholders with vested interest in the sustainability of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and their fisheries were called together to assess progress made towards the implementation of the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration and to renew commitments towards achieving the targets therein. A special focus was placed on social development for small-scale fisheries, decent work and the celebration of the international day for the fight against IUU fishing.

Background

On 30 March 2017, Ministers and high-level representatives of Mediterranean riparian states, as well as the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) came together and took a decisive step to promote the sustainability of the Mediterranean and its fisheries.

The resulting Malta MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration was signed by 16 countries (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) as well as the European Commission. Through this Declaration, these countries have set forth their intent to improve the situation of Mediterranean fisheries over the next decade through a series of ambitious targets and activities towards strengthening fisheries management and governance. 

This Declaration builds on a process initiated in 2003 with the Venice Declaration, which laid the foundation for progress in regional fisheries management at an institutional, scientific, technical and inter-governmental level. Furthermore, it builds on global and regional objectives, supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Mid-term strategy (2017-2020) towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries and the Strategy for the sustainable development of Mediterranean and Black Sea aquaculture, adopted by the GFCM. Implementation of the Declaration also reinforces the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF) and the Regional Plan of Action for the fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing (RPOA-IUU).

Objectives

Much progress has been made in the two years since the signing of the Malta MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration, however enormous efforts are still needed to reach the targets set forth. Countries were therefore called together to take stock of progress made and to renew commitments.

The GFCM High-level conference on MedFish4Ever initiatives sought to:

  • Review progress made in relation to the declared targets and highlight gaps where continued and additional efforts were needed
  • Focus attention on special topics of interest, including:
    • The role of social development in promoting decent work and reducing vulnerabilities for fishers in the region’s coastal communities.
    • A celebration of the international day for the fight against IUU fishing, including an award ceremony for best practices in the region.
  • Renew commitment towards reaching the targets set forth within the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration
  • Promote a dialogue on future challenges and strategic initiatives