General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Management plan | Small pelagic fisheries in the Adriatic Sea (geographical subareas 17–18)

The multiannual management plan for small pelagic fisheries in the Adriatic Sea was adopted in 2013, establishing management measures and harvest control rules for fisheries targeting sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the northern Adriatic Sea (GSA 17), and transitional conservation measures for small pelagic fisheries in the southern Adriatic Sea (GSA 18). Further precautionary and emergency measures were established for 2015 and 2016. Since then, additional recommendations have been adopted, establishing supplementary precautionary and emergency measures for this fishery in GSAs 17 and 18 for 2017–2018 and for 2019–2021.


  • Enforce a limit on the annual number of fishing days – which in 2019, 2020 and 2021 must not exceed 180 fishing days per year – with a maximum of 144 fishing days targeting each species separately
  • Enforce a limit on fleet capacity at 2014 levels for trawlers and purse seiners actively fishing small pelagic stocks in 2019, 2020 and 2021
  • Enforce a limit on catch at 2014 levels for both species combined
  • Enforce spatio-temporal closures from 15 to 30 continuous days to protect nursery and spawning areas, covering the entire distribution of small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea, during specific periods of the year (from 1 October to 31 March for sardine; from 1 April to 30 September for European anchovy)
  • Enforce additional spatio-temporal closures for vessels over 12 m LOA for no less than seven months in 2019, eight months in 2020 and nine months in 2021, covering at least 30 percent of the areas previously identified as nursery areas or those that are important for the protection of early-age classes of fish (in territorial and inner seas)
  • Continue with an MSE for the small pelagic fishery in the Adriatic Sea, simulating the impacts of 18 different management scenarios in the future (up to 2036)
  • Create a progressive annual 5 percent catch reduction (for CPCs with declared catches over 2 500 tonnes in 2014) until 2021
  • Establish a voluntary observation and inspection programme

Learn more about the GFCM's management plans.