General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

The GFCM programme for capacity development in the Mediterranean Sea

MedSea4Fish is the GFCM’s capacity development programme for the Mediterranean Sea. Its main objective is to work with member countries to address national and regional fishery priorities – scientific, economic, social and environmental – in the journey towards a sustainable future.

MedSea4Fish provides resources, training and technical assistance where they’re most needed. In doing so it helps to level the playing field across the Mediterranean Sea on knowledge, expertise and infrastructure, supporting GFCM countries in acquiring the latest data and information, best practices, tools and technologies to provide stronger scientific advice for improved fisheries management.

In line with the GFCM mandate and the aims of the GFCM 2030 Strategy, MedSea4Fish is a building block of the organization’s decision-making process. It strengthens the ability of Mediterranean countries to collect, analyse and report on fisheries data, which leads to improved inputs for the GFCM’s expert groups and subregional committees. This enables the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries to provide stronger and more comprehensive advice to inform decisions at the GFCM annual session, while also advancing specific national priorities.


MedSea4Fish has three related components at its core:

Monitoring fisheries and ecosystems

  • Stock assessment
  • Field and laboratory research
  • Scientific and socioeconomic surveys

Effective monitoring underpins the formulation of sound scientific advice. Through a wide range of activities, MedSea4Fish supports the regular collection of comprehensive biological, fleet and socioeconomic data at the national level.

These activities include stock assessments, harmonized scientific surveys-at-sea, research programmes and pilot studies for select species and fisheries, socio-economic surveys, bycatch and depredation monitoring, biological sampling and laboratory analysis, social studies, and research into issues including pollution, non-indigenous species and climate change.

Training and capacity building

  • Expert courses and on-the-job training
  • Study tours and exchanges
  • Regional fora

The demand for increasingly detailed scientific advice and the emergence of new tools and technologies to help supply it also requires intense efforts on training, and for expertise and best practices to be captured and shared between fishers, fish workers, scientists and administrators across the region. To meet the needs of each country, MedSea4Fish runs a range of tailored courses and ad hoc training sessions, training the trainers programmes, and study tours and exchanges.

Along with fostering collaboration among institutes and stakeholders within and across national borders, this component has a strong emphasis on inclusivity, participation and engagement.

Providing facilities and technology

  • Procuring equipment and services
  • Upgrading research centres and vessels
  • Fostering innovation

Improvements in infrastructure can make a central contribution to a more efficient and sustainable fisheries sector. MedSea4Fish supports the upgrade, expansion and construction of key facilities in Mediterranean countries, providing the technology and tools needed to build and maximize national capabilities.

MedSea4Fish works to improve facilities and equipment, including structural upgrades towards more cost efficient, ecologically safe and less pollutant fleets and fisheries service.

MedSea4Fish 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 Mediterranean 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.