General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

History

Within the GFCM and at a global level, much progress has been made in recent years to draw attention to SSF and to take action to address the challenges faced by this sector.

Key events and milestones

2013        

First Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea (27-30 November 2013, Saint Julian’s, Malta)

For the first time in the region, national administrations, international organizations, scientists, nongovernmental organizations, fisher communities, stakeholders and civil society sat around the same table to address issues of common interest and challenges for building common strategies, synergies and cooperation to support the sustainable development of this sector. The discussions enabled insights on the main issues at stake and laid the groundwork for a regional programme fostering knowledge on small-scale fisheries and involving all interested stakeholders.

-          http://www.fao.org/gfcm/meetings/ssfsymposium2013/en/

-          Symposium conclusions

-          Symposium proceedings

2014

Endorsement of the “Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication” (SSF Guidelines) by the 31st session of COFI

The SSF Guidelines are aimed at all actors striving to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries, to end hunger and poverty and strengthen human rights. They are a tool to guide dialogue, policy processes, and action at all levels, from local communities to global fora. COFI 31 endorsed the SSF Guidelines and welcomed FAO’s proposal for a Global Assistance Programme to support their implementation.

-          http://www.fao.org/voluntary-guidelines-small-scale-fisheries/en/

-          COFI 31

2016

Regional Conference on “Building a future for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” (7-9 March 2016, Algiers, Algeria)

The Regional Conference built on the momentum created by the “First Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” (27-30 November 2013, Malta), offering an opportunity to further intensify efforts to support SSF. The Regional Conference culminated in the adoption of conclusions which sought to identify efficient mechanisms and coordinated strategies to secure a future for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea’s vibrant and crucial SSF sector. In particular, the conference called for a tailored implementation of the SSF Guidelines in the region.

-          Conference website

-          Conference conclusions: EN | FR | AR

Post-conference video

2016

Adoption by the GFCM of Resolution GFCM/40/2016/3 on sustainable small-scale fisheries in the GFCM area of application (Fortieth session of the Commission, 30 May – 3 June 2016, St. Julian’s, Malta)

Acknowledging the importance of the 2016 Regional conference on Building a future for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (March 2016, Algeria) and underlining the significance of the conference conclusions, the GFCM adopted a dedicated Resolution which called on countries to build political will to support SSF and to facilitate the elaboration of national strategies to support the SSF sector, including through implementing the conference conclusions and the SSF Guidelines.

-          Resolution GFCM/40/2016/3 EN | FR

2016

Adoption by the GFCM of Resolution GFCM/40/2016/2 for a mid-term strategy (2017-2020) towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries (Fortieth session of the Commission, 30 May – 3 June 2016, St. Julian’s, Malta)

In view of improving, by 2020, the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries and ensuring that the alarming trend in the status of commercially exploited stocks is reversed, in 2016, the GFCM adopted a resolution establishing a “Mid-term strategy (2017–2020) towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea”

The mid-term strategy is based on five targets – with associated outputs and proposed actions – including:

Target 2: Support livelihoods for coastal communities through sustainable small-scale fisheries;

This instrument represents an important attempt to tailor the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) to the needs and specificities of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

-          Resolution GFCM/40/2016/2 EN | FR

-          http://www.fao.org/gfcm/activities/fisheries/mid-term-strategy/en/

2016

Signature of the declaration of the high-level conference towards enhanced cooperation on Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture (“Bucharest Declaration”, 25 October 2016, Bucharest, Romania)

Ministers and high-level representatives from the Black Sea region recently gathered in Bucharest on the occasion of a GFCM High-level Conference towards Enhanced Cooperation on Black Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture where they unanimously adopted a declaration to enhance their cooperation in tackling the most urgent challenges to achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. For the first time in the region, this declaration marks a strong political commitment to adopt a common and collaborativ e approach to promote the rational exploitation of marine living resources and sustainable aquaculture development, to fight against illegal practices and to mitigate threats to the marine environment. The declaration highlights, in particular, the role of small-scale fisheries in the Black Sea and the need to management these fisheries while continually sustaining livelihoods in this sector.

-          The Bucharest Declaration on Black Sea Cooperation

2017

First meeting of the Working Group on Small-Scale and Recreational Fisheries (WGSSF) (12-13 September 2017, FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy)

The first meeting of the GFCM’s Working Group on Small-Scale and Recreational Fisheries (WGSSF) reviewed progress in the implementation of target 2 of the mid-term strategy (2017–2020) towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries, with a view to providing technical advice on small-scale and recreational fisheries, including the development of elements to be included within a regional management plan on small-scale fisheries. In discussing the future of the WGSSF, it was determined that, considering the separate characteristics and challenges of small-scale and recreational fisheries, and the importance of accelerating the provision of advice on both topics, a separate expert group would be created for recreational fisheries (WGRF), with a mechanism for also holding joint sessions between WGSSF and WGRF to discuss common issues, if needed.

-          Report of the first meeting of the WGSSF

2017

Signature of the Malta “MedFish4Ever” Ministerial Declaration (30 March 2017, Malta)

The MedFish4Ever Declaration, initiated by the European Commission and adopted in March 2017, created a new governance of the Mediterranean fisheries and aquaculture, bringing, for the first time, joint political commitment of the riparian countries to implement a concrete roadmap in the coming 10 years. This declaration highlights the role of small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and calls for the establishment of a Regional Plan of Action for SSF.

-          MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration

2018

Signature of the Sofia Ministerial Declaration (7 June 2018, Sofia)

Following the political will expressed by the high-level representatives that attended the successful High level conference towards enhanced cooperation on Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture (October 2016, Romania), Black Sea countries met again in order to further strength governance and regional cooperation. On this occasion, the Sofia Declaration was signed, setting concrete objectives and actions to help develop comprehensive regional governance in the Black Sea.

This declaration highlights the role of small-scale fisheries in the Black Sea and calls for the establishment of a Regional Plan of Action for SSF.

-          High-level conference on Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture

-          Sofia Ministerial Declaration

2018

High-level conference on sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (25-26 September 2018, Malta) and signature of the Ministerial Declaration on a Regional Plan of Action for Small-scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (26 September 2018)

This high-level conference represented a culmination of the work carried out within the GFCM context in preceding years to elicit political will and concrete action to support small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The conference included a first day dedicated to stakeholder discussions and highlighting best practices in the region, followed by a high-level political meeting to sign the Ministerial Declaration on a RPOA-SSF. The RPOA-SSF is an ambitious roadmap with concrete and coherent measures addressing challenges and reinforcing opportunities for the small-scale fisheries by giving them voice in the decisions that affect their livelihoods, by safeguarding environmentally sustainable fishing practices and by providing economic, social and employment benefits. On this occasion, the “Friends of SSF” platform was also officially launched.

-          High-level conference on sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

-          Ministerial Declaration on a Regional plan of action for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

2019

Second meeting of the Working Group on Small-Scale Fisheries (WGSSF) (6-7 March 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro)

The second meeting of the WGSSF discussed short-term objectives and priority actions for implementing technical aspects of the RPOA-SSF, in particular in relation to: characterizing SSF, improving data collection, and improving management of SSF.

-          Report of the second meeting of the WGSSF

-          Report of the first meeting of the WGSSF

2019

Workshop on “Advancing social development for the future of small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” (10 June 2019, Marrakech, Morocco)

The  workshop on Advancing social development for the future of small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, held as a pre-conference event of the GFCM high-level conference on MedFish4Ever initiatives (11-12 June 2019, Marrakech, Morocco), was organized to provide an opportunity for stakeholders and policy makers to come together to discuss decent work, social protection and gender issues and propose future regional and national priority activities for implementation within the framework of the GFCM RPOA-SSF. Breakout groups, organized by GFCM subregion, identified key actions needed at the local, national and regional levels to advance social development in SSF.

-         Workshop conclusions

-         Summary of breakout group discussions