General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

The fisheries sector is crucial to livelihoods, food security and sustainable long-term development in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.  Fish stocks in the two semi-enclosed seas are shared among fleets from different countries. Industrial, semi-industrial and small-scale fisheries coexist in the region, using a wide variety of fishing gear. In contrast with other major fishing areas, Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries generally lack large mono-specific stocks, and instead exploit a range of benthic and pelagic species, as well as molluscs and crustaceans. Despite its relatively low economic output compared to other economic activities in the area (e.g. tourism, oil and gas exploration), the annual production of roughly 1.22 million tonnes offers employment opportunities to several hundred thousand people, supplies seafood products for human consumption to local and regional markets, and creates many other indirect benefits, maintaining the social fabric of coastal communities. Fisheries are also an intrinsic part of the cultural landscape of Mediterranean and Black Sea countries.

As a regional fisheries management organization (RFMO), the GFCM aims to achieve maximum sustainable yield (MSY) – the highest possible catch that can be sustained over time while ensuring maximum growth of the exploited stock – as well as avoid significant adverse impacts on marine ecosystems, while ensuring livelihoods and addressing food production. The process starts with data collection and stock assessments and culminates in the adoption and enforcement of binding recommendations aimed at controlling levels of fishing mortality while minimizing negative interactions between fisheries and the environment. Fishery productivity is closely linked to the health of the marine environment; and the GFCM plays an important role in a number of initiatives across the region to preserve and restore the natural resources on which the viability of the sector depends. Key aims in this regard include mitigating bycatch, reducing marine pollution, curbing the spread of non-indigenous species, and – across all areas of work – helping the sector adapt to climate change.

The GFCM works on all aspects relevant to sustainable fisheries management in its area of application:

Scientific advice and knowledge
Reversing the declining trend of fish stocks through strengthened scientific advice in support of management: 

Small-scale fisheries
Supporting livelihoods for coastal communities through sustainable small-scale fisheries:

Recreational fisheries
Considering the biological, ecological and socio-economic impacts of recreational fisheries within sustainable fisheries management.




Management measures
Developing management advice towards the conservation and sustainable use of fisheries at all levels (biological, social, economic and environmental)

Capacity development and cooperation
Contributing to the sustainable management of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries through capacity-building and technical support:


The State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries 2022
SoMFi provides a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the status and trends of fisheries in the GFCM area of application. This biennial flagship publication is prepared by the GFCM Secretariat based on the data regularly submitted by GFCM member countries and on the most recent information produced by the GFCM scientific bodies. It is intended as an essential information source on the main issues related to fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and as a key tool to support strategic decision-making and to monitor progress towards the main goals and objectives set by the GFCM. +info

GFCM 2030 Strategy for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
The GFCM 2030 Strategy offers a common vision and principles to achieve sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, federating efforts to deliver on national, regional and global commitments. It aims to preserve the heritage of fisheries and aquaculture as pillars of regional coastal communities, guiding their transformation into a productive and sustainable food production system that contributes to thriving economies and healthy ecosystems. +Info