General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Research programme on red coral

Red coral (Corallium rubrum) in the Mediterranean has experienced a decrease in landings over the past 20 years and, in some areas, its shallow populations are nearly depleted.  

In order to fill important knowledge gaps on the status of red coral in the region, Members at the 38th session of the GFCM agreed to the establishment of a research programme on red coral.  



1. Investigate harvested populations of red coral by means of onboard observers, deep sea diving and ROV surveys and to provide precautionary advice on the status of red coral populations.


2. Compile information on existing traceability mechanisms in Mediterranean countries and provide useful recommendations to strengthen and harmonizing those, through the realization of a pilot project on traceability mechanism of raw coral colonies collected within the GFCM area of application.


3. Conduct laboratory analyses based on the collection of samples of live red coral colonies and extend to focus on ex-situ laboratory analyses on harvested populations of red coral.


4. Develop suitable stock assessment models for red coral, as well as study the dynamics and timing of recovery of harvested populations and of now protected (but previously exploited) populations within MPAs or no-take areas.


5. Conduct a pilot action on detailed socio-economic analysis of the red coral fisheries in the  Mediterranean to investigate the socio-economical aspects of red coral fisheries.