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General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

Regional Conference on “Building a future for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea”


DATE: 7-9 March 2016, VENUE: Sheraton Club des Pins in Algiers, Algeria, CONTACT: gfcm-secretariat@fao.org

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), including its Mediterranean regional projects, organized in partnership with CIHEAM-Bari, MedPAN, WWF and in collaboration with the Algerian Ministry for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, a Regional Conference on “Building a future for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” (Algiers, Algeria, 7-9 March 2016).

In 2013, the same partners organized the First Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea (Malta, 27–30 November 2013), in collaboration with the Government of Malta. For the first time in this region, national administrations, international organizations, fisheries scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), fishers communities, stakeholders and civil society gathered around the same table to discuss common issues with regard to the promotion of sustainable small-scale fisheries. This event demonstrated the potential of the small-scale fisheries sector to alleviate poverty, ensure food security and contribute to Blue Growth strategies and can be considered as a milestone which raised awareness about the main issues at stake, laying the groundwork for future action in the region.

Building upon the momentum created, the organizing partners agreed that concrete steps should be taken towards securing a sustainable future for this sector. The Regional Conference hence offered a unique opportunity to intensify efforts, in a concerted manner, to secure common strategies for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the region.

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The Regional Conference was organized into five thematic panels which addressed the main challenges for small-scale fisheries development, building on the thematic areas presented at the 2013 Symposium. Each panel presented the results of case studies carried out in connection with the panel theme. Each panel was coordinated by a conference partner organization and prompted discussions and reflections among participants so that relevant conclusions could be derived.

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PANEL 1: Supporting the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea under the Blue Growth perspective (GFCM and FAO Mediterranean regional projects)

PANEL 2: Strengthening the role of stakeholders in the context of management and co-management schemes (WWF)

PANEL 3: Improving the efficiency of MPAs as fisheries management tools and  benefits from involving the small-scale fisheries sector (MedPAN)

PANEL 4: Enhancing small-scale fisheries value chains (CIHEAM-Bari)

PANEL 5: Putting the principles of the SSF Guidelines into practice: the case of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department)

The following side events were organized in connection with the technical panels to showcase specific experiences of sustainable small-scale fisheries in the region.

PANEL1:

PANEL 2:

PANEL 3:

PANEL 4:

PANEL 5:

The Regional Conference culminated with the adoption of conclusions which seek to develop efficient mechanisms and coordinated strategies to secure a future for the Mediterranean and Black Sea’s vibrant and crucial small-scale fisheries sector. In particular, the important role of small-scale fisheries in the marine and maritime economy within Blue Growth strategies was stressed. Considering the need to properly manage this sector while also preserving living marine resources, co-management and the involvement of fishers within marine protected areas were also recognized as key elements to ensure commitment and compliance with the rules, resolve conflicts and ensure an efficient management of sustainable development of small-scale fisheries. Moreover, all conference participants concurred that there is a need to improve the socio-economic conditions of fishers and fish workers, which requires, among others, better access to funding, credit and markets, stronger connections with public administrations and institutions, the valorisation of small-scale fisheries products, the diversification of livelihoods, decent working conditions, better social protection, the empowerment of women within the sector and mechanisms to overcome marginalization of the sector. In light of these requirements, tailoring the implementation of the FAO Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) to the specificities of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea should be an important step.  

Conclusions (PDF): En | Fr | Ar