FAO Home>Fisheries & Aquaculture
FAO of the UN
  1. Objectives
  2. GFCM Area of application
  3. Species and stocks coverage
  4. Legal Framework
  5. Languages
  6. Contracting Parties
  7. Structure
  8. Publications
  9. Contact

The purpose of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean of the FAO is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use, at the biological, social, economic and environmental level, of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in its area of application.

In giving effect to the objective of the GFCM Agreement, the Commission shall:

    1. adopt recommendations on conservation and management measures aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of fishing activities, in order to preserve the marine living resources, the economic and social viability of fisheries and aquaculture; in adopting such recommendations, the Commission shall give particular attention to measures to prevent overfishing and minimize discards. The Commission shall also pay particular attention to the potential impacts on small-scale fisheries and local communities;
    2. formulate appropriate measures based on the best scientific advice available, taking into account relevant environmental, economic and social factors;
    3. apply the precautionary approach in accordance with the 1995 Agreement and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
    4. consider aquaculture, including culture-based fisheries, as a means to promote the diversification of income and diet and, in so doing, ensure that living marine resources are used responsibly, that genetic diversity is conserved and adverse impacts on the environment and local communities are minimized;
    5. foster, as appropriate, a subregional approach to fisheries management and aquaculture development in order to better address the specificities of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea;
    6. take the appropriate measures to ensure compliance with its recommendations to deter and eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities;
    7. promote transparency in its decision-making processes and other activities; and
    8. carry out such other relevant activities as may be necessary for the Commission to achieve its principles as defined above.
  • The Commission has the following functions and responsibilities:
    • regularly review and assess the state of living marine resources;
    • formulate and recommend appropriate binding measures, including:
      • for the conservation and management of living marine resources found in the area of application;
      • to minimize impacts of fishing activities on living marine resources and their ecosystems;
      • to adopt multiannual management plans to be applied in all the relevant subregions based on an ecosystem approach to fisheries in order to guarantee the maintenance of stocks above levels of maximum sustainable yield and that are consistent with actions already taken at the national level;
      • to establish fisheries restricted areas for the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems;
      • to ensure the collection, submission, verification, storing, and dissemination of data and information;
      • to take action to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, including mechanisms for effective monitoring, control and surveillance;
      • to resolve situations of non-compliance, including through an appropriate system of measures.
    • promote the sustainable development of aquaculture;
    • regularly review the socioeconomic aspects of the fishing industry, including by obtaining and evaluating economic and other data and information relevant to the work of the Commission;
    • promote the development of institutional capacity and human resources, particularly through education, training, and vocational activities in areas of competence of the Commission;
    • enhance communication and consultation with civil society concerned with aquaculture and fishing;
    • encourage, recommend, coordinate as well as undertake research and development activities, including cooperative projects in the areas of fisheries and the protection of living marine resources.
GFCM Area of applicationThe Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. High seas and National waters.
GFCM area of competence - High seas, National waters
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in the map(s) are for illustration only and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.

Species and stocks coverageAll living marine resources within the area of application. Legal Framework

The "Agreement for the Establishment of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean" was adopted under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution in 1949 and entered into force on 20 February 1952. It was amended four times (1963, 1972, 1997 and 2014) and it is available here.
The GFCM's Rules of Procedure and Financial Regulations, as amended in 2015, are available here.

Languages The official languages of the Commission are , Arabic, English, French, Spanish. Contracting Parties

Membership in the Commission shall be open to Members and Associate Members of the Organization and such non-member States as are members of the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies,

    1. that are:
      • coastal States or Associate Members situated wholly or partly within the area of application;
      • States or Associate Members whose vessels engage in fishing, or intend to conduct fishing, in the area of application for stocks covered by this Agreement; or
      • regional economic integration organizations of which any State referred to in subparagraphs (i), or (ii) above is a member and to which that State has transferred competence over matters within the purview of this Agreement;
    2. and that accept this Agreement in accordance with the provisions of Article 23 below.

Member: Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, European Union, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey.

Cooperating non-Contracting Party

A Member or Associate Member of the Organization and such non-member States as are members of the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies not formally associated as a Contracting Party with the Commission which abides by measures adopted by the Commission.

Cooperating Non-Contracting Party: Georgia (2015), Ukraine. (2015)


The GFCM holds its regular session annually. Extraordinary sessions of the Commission may be convened at the request of the Commission, or of the Bureau, or of a Contracting Party with the approval of a majority of the Contracting Parties.

Each Contracting Party has one vote, with the exception of regional economic integration organizations that are entitled to exercise a number of votes equal to the number of its Member States entitled to vote, consistent with the areas of their respective competence.

The GFCM is structured into a Bureau (composed by a Chairperson and two Vice-Chairpersons) and a Secretariat.

The Commission operates during the intersessional period by means of its four committees, namely the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC), the Scientific Advisory Committee on Aquaculture (CAQ), the Compliance Committee (CoC), the Committee of Administration and Finance (CAF) and an ad hoc mechanism for the Black Sea (i.e. Working Group on the Black Sea).

PublicationsGFCM "Data and Information" are available at: http://www.fao.org/gfcm/data/capture-production-statistics/en/, while GFCM "Reports and Publications” are available at http://www.fao.org/gfcm/reports/technical-meetings/en/.


GFCM Secretariat

Palazzo Blumenstihl, Via Vittoria Colonna 1

Telephone: +3906 570 56649

Telephone: +3906 570 54055

Fax: +3906 570 55827

Web site: http://www.fao.org/gfcm/en/

Email: gfcm-secretariat

Powered by FIGIS