General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

High-Level Conference Towards Enhanced Cooperation on Black Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture

DATE: 24-25 October 2016, VENUE: Hilton Athena Hotel, Bucharest, Romania, CONTACT: [email protected]

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized, in partnership with the Agreement on the Conservation on Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS), the Black Sea Commission, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and EUROFISH - and in collaboration with the Romanian Government - the “High-Level Conference Towards Enhanced Cooperation on Black Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture” (Bucharest, Romania, 24-25 October 2016).

The Conference was composed of an expert meeting revolving around three round-table panel discussions, followed by a high-level session in which strategic aspects linked to cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture at the regional level were discussed.

High-level representatives were the main actors in the high-level session, whereas representatives from relevant national administrations, international organizations, universities and academia, funding agencies and civil society organizations came together during the Expert Meeting and contributed to analyze the critical issues being faced by the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Black Sea.

Download the Final Programme

The three panels held during the expert meeting (24 October) were composed of selected panelists, with extensive expertise in diverse topics of importance for Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture, who engaged in a roundtable discussion with the moderator. Following the expert roundtable discussion, all participants were invited to join in an open debate on the issues at hand.

Panel 1 - State of Black Sea living marine resources and their ecosystems 

As the Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) with competence over the Black Sea, the GFCM seeks to encourage knowledge sharing on the principal issues affecting fisheries management, namely, sound scientific advice on biological and ecological aspects, management measures, environmental issues and the socio-economic impacts. Presently, the status of Black Sea stocks is alarming and actions are urgently needed to revert the current trend. At the same time, ACCOBAMS, the Black Sea Commission, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and Eurofish share with the GFCM a keen interest in healthy marine ecosystems that foster blue growth and sustainable development while limiting negative interactions between fisheries and the environment. Within this framework, this expert session examined interconnected elements for efficiently managing Black Sea fisheries and for ensuring healthy ecosystems.

Download the Prospectus of Panel 1

Download the Keynote Address

Panel 2 - Existing knowledge and efforts towards the assessment and eradication of IUU fishing in the Black Sea

IUU fishing is one of the most serious threats to the sustainability of Black Sea fisheries. Although the precise extent of this activity is at present unclear, it is known that this activity is increasingly common, with serious consequences for fish stocks, the ecosystem, and the fishing communities dependent on these resources. The GFCM recognizes that better management of fisheries in the Black Sea is undermined by IUU fishing and a disregard for common rules. As such, in 2013, the GFCM adopted a specific roadmap for the fight against IUU fishing for the Black Sea. This has been the first regional instrument ever conceived to fight against IUU fishing in the Black Sea, an area which is known to be particularly challenging when it comes to the incidence of IUU fishing. This session took stock of the current scale of IUU fishing, including its foreseeable costs and impacts, in order to frame discussions around the most appropriate international and regional policy instruments to be developed against the background of the 2013 roadmap. In this regard, the session explored, in particular, the role of MCS, including emerging technologies that could be used in the Black Sea to address IUU fishing.

Download the Prospectus of Panel 2

Download the Keynote Address

Panel 3 - Current state and future perspectives for the responsible development of aquaculture in the Black Sea

Aquaculture represents a concrete opportunity for enhancing food security, employment and economic growth in the Black Sea. While current production includes a range of finfish and shellfish, utilized also for restocking purposes, the full potential of the sector is still untapped. Fostering aquaculture development in the Black Sea calls for an enabling environment where the sector can flourish. The role to be played by the GFCM in this process is crucial. In this regard, an Aquaculture Task Force has been recently established by the GFCM to boost market production and strengthen the contribution of aquaculture to blue growth and sustainable development. This has led, in turn, to the development of a regional aquaculture strategy, based on healthy environments, sound management and the development of attractive and fair regional markets. This session addressed the status of the aquaculture sector in the Black Sea and identified potential future actions to unblock, accelerate and secure the sector’s sustainable development and growth. Such actions include the identification of suitable areas for aquaculture farming, the enhancement of cooperation and knowledge-sharing on topics of markets and trends, species selection, legislative and governance frameworks and technology.

Download the Prospectus of Panel 3

Download the Keynote Address

The following representatives addressed the audience during the High-Level Session:

  • H.E. Achim Irimescu, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Romania
  • H.E. Cristiana Pasca-Palmer, Minister for Environment, Waters and Forests, Romania
  • H.E. Dessislava Taneva, Minister for Agriculture and Food, Bulgaria
  • H.E. Roni Telegrafi, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management, Albania
  • H.E. Rauf Hajiyev, Deputy Minister for Ecology and Natural Resources, Azerbaijan
  • H.E. Ekaterine Grigalava, Deputy Minister for Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Georgia
  • H.E. Victor Morgoci, Deputy Minister for Environment, Republic of Moldova
  • H.E. Iarema Kovaliv, Deputy Minister for Agrarian Policy and Food - Head of State Agency of Fisheries, Ukraine
  • H.E. Valery Ivanovitch Kuzmin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Romania
  • H.E. Mustafa Altug Atalay, Director-General of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Turkey
  • Mr Jiansan Jia, Deputy-Director, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, on behalf of Mr Graziano Da Silva, FAO Director-General
  • Ms Valérie Lainé, Acting Director, Directorate D (Mediterranean and Black Sea), Directorate General for Maritime Affaires and Fisheries, European Commission
  • H.E. Michael Christides, Secretary General, BSEC
  • Ms Florence Descroix-Comanducci, Executive Secretary, ACCOBAMS
  • Ms Aina Afanasjeva, Director, EUROFISH
  • Mr Abdellah Srour, Executive Secretary, GFCM

Ministers and high-level representatives from the Black Sea region 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 area, this declaration marks a strong political commitment to adopt a common and collaborative 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.

Press release of the event