General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Activities > Fisheries > Research programmes

Since 2018, research programmes have been included, through specific recommendations, in the GFCM work plan for both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.


Research programmes are implemented in cases where an improvement in the sustainability and management of a specific fishery is expected to benefit from dedicated actions towards improving the quality and quantity of information on the resource, while addressing previously identified knowledge gaps and shortcomings in the relevant scientific/technical advice.


In all cases, the core principle is to take full advantage of ongoing research at the country level by providing a platform for coordination and filling the gaps with new activities and/or capacity-building support, generally aimed at providing the scientific basis for the determination of the most appropriate management measures.


Research programme | Rapa whelk

The rapa whelk is a non-indigenous species originating from the western Pacific, first observed in the Black Sea in 1947. Previous efforts to curb, or even eradicate, its population, have thus evolved into policies to manage the exploitation of this stock towards ensuring long-term yields and sustaining the multimillion-dollar market developing around it as well as the livelihoods of involved stakeholders.

The regional research programme on rapa whelk fisheries in the Black Sea was established by Recommendation GFCM/42/2018/9 and launched in 2019, under the coordination of the BlackSea4Fish project. +info


Research programme | European eel

European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is a migratory species that displays a unique life cycle. From the spawning phase to the pre-reproductive stage, European eel migrate from the Northwest Atlantic to the coasts of the distribution range and continental waters.

Following Recommendation GFCM/42/2018/1 and discussions held at the 2019 GFCM Working Group on the management of European eel (WGMEASURES – EEL) the GFCM implemented an eel research programme in the Mediterranean. +info


Research programme | Red coral

Red coral (Corallium rubrum) in the Mediterranean has experienced a decrease in landings over the past 20 years and, in some areas, its shallow populations are nearly depleted. 

In order to fill important knowledge gaps on the status of red coral in the region, Members at the 38th session of the GFCM agreed to the establishment of a research programme on red coral. +info


Research programme | Blue crabs

Two large non-indigenous species of the so-called blue crabs (the American Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, and the Blue Swimming Crab, Portunus segnis) have been present in the Mediterranean since at least the first half of the 20th century.

To deal with population expansions and subsequent fisheries of these two crab species, the GFCM issued Recommendation GFCM/42/2018/7 on the implementation of a regional research programme on blue crab in the Mediterranean Sea. +info