General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Multidisciplinary panels: transformative actions in Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture

Side events

13.15 - 14.15

Discovering pathways to sustainable Mediterranean fisheries – MedPath’s transformative and participatory approach

Organized by Marine Stewardship Council

The MedPath Project is a collaborative effort to foster higher levels of sustainability in fisheries management across Spain, France, Italy and Greece. MedPath uses the Marine Stewardship Council Fishery Standard as a framework to identify sustainability gaps in Mediterranean fisheries, taking a three-step approach to diagnose issues, develop tailored improvement plans, and implement actions in collaboration with resource users. Stakeholder empowerment is an important focus of the project, which aims not just to refine management practices, but also to fill in gaps in fishery information, a key issue in the Mediterranean today. By building synergies between the fishing sector and expert research institutions, MedPath is driving a cascade of scientific technical projects addressing areas such as data scarcity, fishery impact analysis, and information on stocks not yet assessed by the GFCM or European Union.

This side event will illustrate the MedPath journey to date and examine a series of live projects that are helping to improve management across a diverse range of fisheries. These include: blue and red shrimp fisheries in Palamos, Spain; Corsica’s common dentex longline fishery; deep-water rose shrimp fisheries in the Italian Adriatic; and Greece’s common octopus fishery in the Northern Aegean. As the event unfolds, these case studies will demonstrate how collaboration, innovation and stakeholder engagement are at the heart of MedPath’s success so far and are key to a more sustainable future for Mediterranean fisheries.

13.15 - 14.15

The importance of protecting the deep sea - the case of Cabliers Bank

Organized by Oceana

Oceana is a non-governmental organization dedicated exclusively to the protection of the ocean, and is also a long-standing observer at the GFCM. This event will focus on the importance of documenting the deep sea, which is at once the largest and yet the most unknown ecosystem on the planet and which today stands in need of urgent protection from a range of threats, including destructive fishing activities. But what’s really down there? As Jacques Cousteau used to say, “You can’t protect what you can’t see” – so Oceana will present exclusive underwater images from the rich and semi-pristine cold-water corals of the Cabliers Bank, a biodiversity hotspot in the Alboran Sea that is in the process of being formally protected as a GFCM Fisheries Restricted Area. The presentation will also feature a video interview with Claudio Lo Iacono, senior researcher at the Spanish National Research Council, who will explain the peculiarities of this unique Mediterranean deep-sea habitat.

This side event will be led by Alexandra Cousteau, award-winning activist and globally recognized advocate for ocean restoration. She has taken part in expeditions in the Mediterranean and around the world since she was a child and has witnessed first-hand the shocking decline of marine abundance over recent decades. As an ambassador for the Cousteau family legacy, she devotes her life to the future of the global ocean.

17.30 - 18:30

Calling for decisive steps to enhance transparency, compliance, and the enforcement of measures to prevent illegal bottom trawling

Organized by Med Sea Alliance

Over the past two years, several member organizations of the Med Sea Alliance (MSA) have joined forces to examine and expose illegal bottom trawling in the Mediterranean Sea in areas where it is already banned, and hence considered illegal. They call upon GFCM members to adopt concrete and impactful measures to increase transparency and enforcement so that closed areas can be effectively protected from bottom trawling. Besides MSA members, the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) platform of small-scale fishers’ organizations across Europe will present its position on ensuring strong fisheries control and support for local communities. Alexandra Cousteau, explorer and ocean activist will also make a short speech.

Building on lessons learnt, this side event will show the occurrence and impact of (presumed) illegal bottom trawling in closed areas, as documented by the MSA Atlas. It will also share the findings of an MSA member’s investigation on illegal trawling in protected areas in Greece; short films will also be screened. Finally, the event will highlight success stories and discuss solutions for improving the situation in the Mediterranean Sea.