General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Allocated zones for aquaculture

Further sustainable expansion of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea depends on the availability of suitable space. In this regard, Resolution GFCM/36/2012/1 gives guidelines on allocated zones for aquaculture (AZA), making them a priority to responsibly develop, manage and transform the sector. An AZA is a coastal area resulting from a zoning process within the framework of marine spatial planning (MSP) which identifies sites that are suitable for aquaculture which also minimize conflicts with other users and uses (e.g. tourism, marine protected areas [MPA], small-scale fisheries [SSF], maritime routes, military zones). The GFCM is working hard to promote the integration of aquaculture in coastal zones across the region, and the wider implementation of AZAs has a key part to play in the process. 


  • Technical support for the establishment of AZAs in the Mediterranean and Black Sea,, including field missions for database creation, the delineation of compatible zones, support for the elaboration of aquaculture law, censuses of farming operations, and training on marine aquaculture carrying capacity models.

  • AZA capacity building through dedicated workshops and online courses on the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in the establishment of AZA.

  • Creation and dissemination of practical knowledge tools to facilitate the understanding and use of AZAs across the Mediterranean and Black Sea: “A guide for the establishment of coastal zones dedicated to aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea” and the “AZA toolkit”.