General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Adoption of a record number of measures benefiting the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

The GFCM countries adopted today 15 decisions to ensure conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.


Athens | On the occasion of the forty-third session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), representatives of 22 countries and the European Union, met in Athens to review recommendations and resolutions to improve the management and conservation of marine resources across the region.

After a week of intense discussions based on scientific data and analysis from across the region, the GFCM members reaffirmed their commitment towards achieving environmental, economic, and social sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture.

Inaction is not an option” said the Greek Vice Minister of Rural Development and Food, Fotini Arampatzi. “It is time for bold decisions and more effective cooperation for a better future in the Mediterranean, our Sea.

In the presence of intergovernmental, non-governmental and civil society organisations, a wide consensus was reached among countries to adopt a series of binding decisions establishing multiannual management measures for red coral and key fisheries, such as turbot, blackspot seabream, Adriatic demersal fisheries, deep water red shrimp fisheries in the Strait of Sicily and dolphinfish fisheries with FADs, as well as measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems and cetaceans.

It is the first time the GFCM establishes catch certification and traceability systems for the fishery of red coral in the Mediterranean and turbot in the Black Sea. Also, GFCM advances on the implementation of effective management tools, such as catch and effort quotas for Black Sea turbot and for Adriatic demersal fisheries.

78% of the assessed fish stocks are overexploited in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” said Abdellah Srour, Executive Secretary of the GFCM. “Through these decisions the countries commit to pursue their efforts towards the reduction of overfishing in the region with the final goal of long-term fish stock sustainability.

The GFCM members also agreed to step up the fight against Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing particularly through the adoption of two binding recommendations obliging countries to submit and share information on fishing agreements and fishing activities.  

 Finally, the session underlined the importance of reinforcing the science-policy nexus and acknowledges the significance of the Fish Forum as a key catalyst, following its recognition by the UN General Assembly as a case of best practice.

 With the mid-term strategy for the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries wrapping up in 2020 there is the need to take stock of how much was accomplished and to set an even more ambitious vision for the coming years,” emphasized FAO Assistant Director-General for fisheries and aquaculture Árni M. Mathiesen.

The decisions listed here entered into force on April 18, 2020.

View the report of the commission in English or French.


The GFCM is a regional fisheries body of FAO with competence for all marine waters of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Its main objective is to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture.

The Commission’s recommendations are binding for all countries fishing in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The annual session is the occasion for all members to meet, discuss and adopt the recommendations