General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Meetings > SSF Symposium 2013

DATE: 27-30 November 2013, VENUE: St. Julian's, Malta, CONTACT: [email protected]


The considerable role of small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea has long been recognized. They have the potential to contribute significantly to food security, economic growth and rural development and to provide valuable employment opportunities. This is why there is a genuine and widespread interest in securing their sustainable development in the whole region.

Small-scale fisheries are characterized by a great diversity and represent different values and ways of life. They are important vectors of local knowledge and good practices for co-management and they have a low environmental impact. However, there is sparse information at the regional level on their production volumes and socio-economic dimension as well as on their contribution to sustainable development and to the preservation of marine ecosystems.

Why a Symposium

At a time when the fisheries sector is experiencing a systemic crisis and many countries are going through a transitional period which may have implications for small-scale fisheries, the need for concerted efforts and strategies is becoming quite urgent. There is no doubt that regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), such as the GFCM, can play an important role in this process.

The idea of the symposium stems from the need to assess the current situation in the region and gather ideas among the different stakeholders in order to be able to steer strategic and programmatic actions with a view to improving the livelihood of local communities engaged in small-scale fisheries, encouraging a sustainable exploitation of living marine resources. The aim is to provide, at the regional level, a platform where the main recurring issues related to small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea could be duly addressed and all interested stakeholders could bring their opinions and ideas to the fore.


The main objectives of the symposium are:

  • to foster and renew political commitment towards small-scale fisheries;
  • to agree upon a possible roadmap for the gradual implementation of tasks in support to the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries;
  • to discuss the set-up of a regional cooperation project on small-scale fisheries;
  • to lay the foundations for a platform where stakeholders could be directly involved and participate in the management of small-scale fisheries.



List of abstracts

Side event programme

Background papers summaries

  • Thematic Session I - AR - EN - FR
  • Thematic Session II -AR - EN - FR
  • Thematic Session III - AR - EN - FR
  • Thematic Session IV - AR- EN - FR
  • Thematic Session V - AR - EN - FR

Full background papers

    (Author’s version - Available in English only)



    Thematic session I – Current situation of small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea: strategies and methodologies for an effective analysis of the sector

    • Stocktaking of existing information and data on small-scale fisheries to assess their potential in production and socio-economic terms
    • Identification of key elements directly or indirectly linked to small-scale fisheries for planning and management purposes
    • Identification of existing data and information gaps at different levels (biological, socio-economic, environmental)
    • Definition of common methodologies to monitor the regular collection of relevant data

    Thematic session II – Management and co-management options for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

    • Management and co-management: actual co-management versus participatory advisory schemes
    • Overview of traditional fisheries management schemes implemented by stakeholders in the region
    • Transferring executive management powers from stakeholders to State agencies: recent developments
    • Contemporary schemes including co-management elements in the field of fisheries
    • Fishers, fisheries agencies, scientists and civil society as co-managers: who should qualify to co-manage?
    • A legal framework for fisheries co-management: how does co-management fit in national and regional legal frameworks?
    • Relevant options for co-management: area-based management; access limitation; limitation of fishing opportunities; time/area management; monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS)
    • Functioning of co-management committees (e.g. the case of the co-management committee of the Catalan sand-eel fishery)
    • Identification of capacity-building needs for fisheries co-management

    Thematic session III – Integration of small-scale fisheries in marine protected areas (MPAs)

    • Overview of different types of MPAs in the GFCM area: from fisheries management tools to conservation and multipurpose MPAs
    • Assessing of MPAs impacts on small-scale fisheries
    • Involving small-scale fishers in MPAs: from participation to co-management
    • Promotion of small-scale fisheries and potential of reconversion in and around MPAs

    Thematic session IV – Enhancing small-scale fisheries value chains in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

    • Outline of the small-scale fisheries sector, its value chains and economic accounts in the light of the current economic crisis
    • Main components of local, national and international value chains related to small-scale fisheries production
    • Costs and earnings analysis of small-scale fisheries and reasons for differences
    • Analysis of small-scale fisheries production through the value chain method
    • Investing in quality improvement: quality of life of small-scale fishers, etc.
    • Assessing existing structural and community needs and socio-economic approaches towards diversification and multi-functionality
    • Valorization of the main small-scale fisheries production Innovative measures to enhance production and market: capacity-building and institutional strengthening
    • Options to maximize the price of small-scale fisheries catches at time of sale, including specific certification requirements

    Thematic session V – Setting up a regional platform to promote the implementation of the voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

    • Challenges and opportunities for the small-scale fisheries sector in the Mediterranean and Black Sea
    • Human rights-based approach: current situation and needs in terms of access to basic economic, social and cultural rights
    • Social and economic development for fishers, fish workers and fishing communities to enhance the sustainability of small-scale fisheries, including the post-harvest sector, and their contribution to food security and poverty alleviation
    • Review of national experiences in terms of collective action and organizations (e.g. fishers cooperatives and associations) and how to strengthen them, including through capacity development and the creation of regional or sub-regional associations

    The Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea will be organized by the GFCM in collaboration with the following partners:

    • FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
    • FAO regional projects: AdriaMed, CopeMed II, EastMed, MedSudMed;
    • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Mediterranean Programme;
    • MedPAN network of marine protected area managers in the Mediterranean
    • the Bari Mediterranean Agronomic Institute (MAI Bari) of the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM)

    The steering and scientific committee will be responsible for ensuring the overall success of the event. It will oversee the coordination, organization and moderation of the symposium and supervise reporting activities during and after the symposium. It is composed of the following focal points appointed by each partner:

    • GFCM: Mr Abdellah Srour and Mr Nicola Ferri
    • FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department: Ms Nicole Franz and Mr Carlos Fuentevilla
    • WWF: Mr Sergi Tudela
    • MedPAN: Ms Marie Romani
    • CIHEAM Bari: Mr Biagio Di Terlizzi
    • FAO Regional Projects: Mr Juan Antonio Camiñas


    Download the final conclusions in PDF: English

    Session presentations

    Disclaimer: the designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Moreover, the designations employed and the presentations of material in this information product have been provided for users' convenience without any representation when compiled and do not purport to represent reality truthfully. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of FAO. The words "countries" and “States” appearing in the text refers to countries, territories and areas without distinction.

    Opening session

    Thematic session 1

    Thematic session 2

    Thematic session 3

    Thematic session 4

    Thematic session 5

    Side events presentations


    Thematic session 1

    Thematic session 2

    Thematic session 3

    Thematic session 4


    5 Feb 2014 - The outcomes of the Malta Symposium presented at the FAO Technical Consultations on the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

    The GFCM Secretariat has organized a side event at FAO to present the main features and conclusions of the Malta Symposium. Over 50 participants attended the event and the final video of the Symposium was shown for the first time on this occasion.

    2 Dec 2013 - Joining forces for the future of small-scale fisheries and marine resources in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

    Final Press Release (Arabic - English - French)

    17 Oct 2013 - Rolf Willmann, FAO Senior Fishery Planning Officer, talks about small-scale fisheries

    “We should recognize [Small-scale fishers, fishing communities and small-scale farmers] as having rights, basic human rights. The problem of small-scale fisheries around the world is often that they have rights to the resources that are not properly recognized”.

    “It is a way of life. It is more than just livelihoods […]. If we don’t manage our oceans, our seas, our rivers well, we will lose a part of humanity”. 

    Full interview available here

    1 Oct 2013 - L'Éco News: Symposium sur la pêche artisanale en novembre

    L’Algérie veut se repositionner au sein de la CGPM 

    Le développement d’une économie de pêche adaptée à la région méditerranéenne a été la thématique abordée, à l’hôtel El Aurassi, par le ministère de la Pêche et la Commission générale de la pêche en Méditerranée et en mer Noire (CGPM). 

    [read more]

    25 Sep 2013 - FAO Fisheries Department: First Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea - November 2013

    Malta, 25 September 2013 

    Small-scale fisheries traditionally represent an important share of the fisheries sector in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and their considerable role in the region has long been recognized. Now, building on the process and participatory approach used to develop the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) plans to provide a platform to address the main issues related to small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. 

    21 Aug 2013 - EUCC for healthy sea and coast: First Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fishing in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

    Mr Abdellah Srour, the Executive Secretary of General Fisheries Commission in the Mediterranean (GFCM), has officially announced that the first “Regional Symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” will be held at the Hilton hotel in St. Julian’s, Malta, from 27 to 30 November 2013, hosted by the Maltese Government. 

    [read more]

    31 Jul 2013 - World Fishing.Net: Small scale fisheries symposium

    A regional symposium is being organised to address the main issues related to sustainable small scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. 

    The first regional symposium is being organised by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and takes place from 27 to 30 November 2013 at St Julian’s in Malta.

    [read more]

    MedPAN: Interview with Mr Abdellah SROUR, GFCM Executive Secretary

    The full interview text is available [here]