General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

The GFCM programme for capacity development in the Black Sea   

The BlackSea4Fish project was established in 2016 to contribute to the sustainable management of Black Sea fisheries. It provides scientific and technical support to the work of the GFCM in the region, coordinating priority activities of the GFCM Subregional Group on Stock Assessment in the Black Sea (SGSABS) and the Working Group on the Black Sea (WGBS).

BlackSea4Fish supports GFCM members in fulfilling their objectives with regards to Black Sea fisheries, organizing activities in line with agreed workplans; while members provide technical, financial and in-kind contributions to the project as appropriate. The project brings together key regional actors, providing the WGBS with the resources it needs to efficiently execute its priority actions towards formulating advice for sustainable Black Sea fisheries.

BlackSea4Fish plays a central role in the implementation of the GFCM 2030 Strategy, directly addressing each target specific to the Black Sea, and contributing to the Strategy’s objective of consolidating national expertise and scientific capacity to create a level playing field for fisheries across the region.


BlackSea4Fish has five related components at its core:   

Output 1
Scientific advice in support of fisheries management

The output aims to increase, through systematic stock assessment of priority species, existing scientific knowledge to support fisheries management and reverse the current overexploitation of Black Sea stocks, minimizing the percentage of stocks outside biologically safe limits. 

Output 2
Improved knowledge of small-scale and recreational fisheries

The output aims to enhance and disseminate knowledge on small-scale and recreational fisheries, with a view to supporting livelihoods in small-scale fishing communities, including by promoting decent work. 

Output 3
Assessment of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and operationalization of a modular approach to vessel monitoring systems

The output aims to assess IUU fishing rates in the Black Sea, and operationalize a modular approach to vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and control systems. This approach is helping evaluate how effectively the RPOA-IUU is being implemented, and contributing to the fight against IUU fishing.

Output 4
Improved monitoring of discards and bycatch of vulnerable species 

The output takes the form of a bycatch monitoring programme to reduce discard rates and incidental catches of vulnerable species, while also working towards strategies for adapting to climate change and dealing with non-indigenous species in the Black Sea. 

Output 5
Cooperation, outreach and well-disseminated results 

The output promotes and disseminates project results to diverse stakeholders across the region, with a view to increasing participation as well as strengthening technical and institutional cooperation. 

BlackSea4Fish is structured to enable cross-sectoral opportunities that reach across these component parts, strengthening the contribution it makes to levelling the playing field in the Black Sea. It encourages technical cooperation between research and policy institutes on specific topics, the exchange of best practices, and the creation of expert hubs to share specialist knowledge and facilities.