General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Regional plan of action for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea: a common commitment for the future


Valletta, Malta. High-level representatives from 18 Mediterranean and Black Sea countries as well as the European Union just signed in Malta a Ministerial Declaration aimed at implementing a Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF). This declaration took shape at the end of a long process involving all stakeholders. It is a historic step for the region and a concrete commitment to ensure the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability for small-scale fisheries within the next decade.

This event took place within the framework of the High-level conference on sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea organized on 25-26 September 2018 by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, in partnership with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights of the Republic of Malta, the European Commission and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Approximatively 240 participants from 30 countries gathered at the conference to discuss progress made in recent years and solutions to support the small-scale fisheries sector. Lively stakeholder discussions took place, and fishers and fisher organization actively participated in the debate on key topics such as the role small-scale fishers in supporting scientific research, improving small-scale fisher livelihoods and enhancing the value chain, promoting social development and decent work, supporting the role of women, co-management and strengthening the role of small-scale fisher organizations, monitoring, control and surveillance of small-scale fisheries.  

Select cases of best practices with potential to be replicated within and outside the region received awards during an official ceremony. On this occasion, the regional platform “Friends of SSF” was also officially launched. This regional network of actors sharing common interests and objectives in the sector is aimed at promoting transnational cooperation and building synergies among ongoing work.  

Small-scale fisheries represent an important share of the fisheries sector in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and their considerable role in the region has long been recognized. They represent 84 percent of the region’s fishing fleet and they employ nearly 62 percent of the total workforce onboard fishing vessels. This typically family-based activity has a considerable economic impact on Mediterranean and Black Sea coastal communities. However, the sector still faces a number of challenges and efforts are needed to, among others, improve the collection of data for this notably data-poor sector. 

The regional plan of action is therefore a concrete instrument that aims to reinforce the capacities of the sector in several domains including scientific research and data collection, fisheries management measures, value chain and market access, participation in decision-making processes, decent work, role of women, climate and environment.  

“This ten-year commitment is the fruit of a long participatory work. I truly hope that it will pave the way to similar action plans in other regions of the world, in order to give a decisive contribution to food security and to the health of our oceans for a better future” said Abdellah Srour, Executive Secretary of the GFCM.  

The declaration was signed by Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and the European Union.

The regional plan of action is available here: RPOA-SSF
Further information on the event as well as a photo gallery are available at: