General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

GEF Council endorses two FAO/GFCM projects supporting sustainability in Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has endorsed two projects of more than USD 12 million to reverse the overexploitation of select commercial fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. 

The projects, to be executed by the GFCM, will support Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine in the Black Sea and Albania, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey in the Mediterranean in developing Blue Economy pathways through an ecosystem-based management approach. Abdellah Srour, GFCM Executive Secretary, explains that “the two seas have most of their commercial fish stocks shared among littoral states so close cooperation will be essential for their effective management”.

Tapping into the full social and economic potentials of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, these projects will help to ensure that the sector remains profitable, resilient, and environment friendly. 

“The GEF, through its International Waters Focal Area, plays a unique role globally in supporting countries’ efforts to manage jointly their transboundary waters and water resources, including fisheries.  These projects highlight FAO’s and the GFCM’s comparative advantages in working with the GEF to help countries improve the sustainability of fisheries and ecosystem health in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” says Jeffrey Griffin, Senior Coordinator of the FAO-GEF Unit.   

The Mediterranean Sea is known as a hotspot of marine biodiversity with over 17 000 marine species. The Black Sea, on the other hand, has been experiencing a significant level of ecosystem degradation due to an overabundance of nutrients, known as accumulated nutrient loading, which has adversely affected both the marine ecosystems and its marine living resources. 

To strengthen the management system of the GFCM, both projects will identify main issues requiring technical support, upscale regional fisheries networks, as well as promote and disseminate sustainable management practices with a specific focus on small-scale fisheries and value chains.

The “Fisheries and Ecosystem Based Management for the Mediterranean Sea” project (FishEBM-MED) and the “Fisheries and Ecosystem Based Management for the Black Sea” project (FishEBM-BS), will be implemented by FAO and executed by the GFCM, as part of the over USD 500 million allocated by the GEF to support International Waters work during this seventh cycle of the GEF (GEF-7). Activities are expected to start in 2021 with a duration of four years.