General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Environmental monitoring programmes for aquaculture

Blue food production relies on a healthy marine environment. However, poorly planned and managed aquaculture projects can have negative impacts on local ecosystems, which may also harm the wider sector. It is critical to carry out rigorous environmental impact assessments before any operation is established, so potential issues can be avoided before they occur. Once production has begun, it is equally important to monitor and evaluate its effects on the local environment. Less than half of the countries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region have an effective environmental monitoring system for aquaculture activities in place, partly due to poor cooperation between farmers and institutions. Moreover, widely varying regional norms and standards make monitoring of this kind more challenging to organize. 

The GFCM has clear objectives with regards to environmental monitoring programmes for aquaculture: to help producers reduce and mitigate their impacts on the environment, to increase efficiency and productivity, to improve product safety and quality, and to increase the social benefits that aquaculture generates.  


  • Preparation of guidelines to promote best practices in aquaculture management.  
  • Work on assessing opportunities to develop integrated multi-trophic aquaculture operations
  • Programme development to implement innovative farming technology, with a particular focus on smart aquaculture and family farm activities (e.g. recirculating aquaculture systems, aquaponics, biofloc fish farming, algae cultivation). 
  • Provision of training and technical assistance on the implementation of environmental monitoring.