General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Monitoring incidental catch of vulnerable species in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea: methodology for data collection

Bycatch – a term widely used to refer to the part of catch unintentionally captured during a fishing operation, in addition to target species, and consisting of discards and incidental catches of vulnerable species – is considered one of the most important threats to the profitability and sustainability of fisheries, as well as to the conservation of the marine environment and ecosystems.

In the Mediterranean, studies on the incidental catch of vulnerable species cover only a small portion of the total fishing activity. In addition, there are several important knowledge gaps for many types of fishing gear, and several countries and/or subregions, as well as on temporal scales, and only a few measures are in place that address the protection of vulnerable species. Monitoring programmes and surveys on incidental catches, which follow a harmonized methodology allowing for results to be compared across subregions, are necessary to improve knowledge on the issue and to subsequently support the identification of potential mitigation methods and tools, and relevant management measures.

This publication and the methodology contained herein aim to provide a framework for the development and implementation of an efficient, standardized data collection and monitoring system for all vulnerable species encountered in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, namely elasmobranchs, marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and macrobenthic invertebrates.

​FAO. 2019. Monitoring the incidental catch of vulnerable species in Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries: Methodology for data collection. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 640. Rome, FAO.


FAO publication card <