General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Aquatic animal health and welfare

Aquatic animal diseases are one of the main threats to production and growth in the aquaculture industry, and they can also have serious environmental, social and economic impacts. Their overall global cost is estimated to exceed USD 6 billion annually. Biosecurity and disease control are fundamental to the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of the industry as a whole.

The GFCM is spearheading regional efforts to tackle the challenges related to aquatic animal health and welfare, following an approach tailored to the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Good farm management including biosecurity and disease prevention should ensure fish health while maintaining food safety and quality, and minimizing impacts on the environment, society and the economy.


  • Capacity-building support for aquaculture farmers in risk analysis, adaptive management, diagnosis, biosecurity measures, and sanitary and food security. This will strengthen disease prevention and tackle potential risks posed by farming operations. 
  • Science-based development of systems and protocols for the early diagnosis of pathogens, strengthening capacity to contain the spread of disease.
  • Establishment of a core team for regional aquaculture risk analysis, focusing on the control of pathologies and including prevention aspects and biosecurity.