General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Tune in to our virtual seminar ‘Aquaculture and Marine Spatial Planning’


Allocated zones for aquaculture (AZAs) within marine spatial planning (MSP) are essential for the sustainable development and expansion of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Wednesday, 3 June, the GFCM presented a virtual seminar on aquaculture and marine spatial planning: highlights on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Marine spatial planning is of crucial importance to ensure, in a concerted manner, the allocation of space for aquaculture and integrate aquaculture activities within other coastal uses. In this regard, the GFCM has adopted Resolution GFCM/36/2012/1 on guidelines on allocated zones for aquaculture, which considers the implementation of AZAs as a priority for the responsible development and management of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. 

This seminar provided insights from various pilot studies on AZAs and shared experiences between aquaculture stakeholders. Farmers, administrators and civil society representatives presented their perspectives and ideas on integrating aquaculture into coastal zones through the establishment of AZAs. The webinar also provided information on the Blue-Cloud project for aquaculture cage detection and on the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Services (CMEMS).

Following this seminar will be a 5-day training course in September on the use of GIS for the implementation of AZAs, in French and English for selected candidates.

The seminar covered the following topics:

  • MSP and AZAs: general framework and concepts

    • What are AZAs, why are they established and how do they work within MSP?

  • Use of GIS and methodological process for the establishment of AZAs: case studies

    • Presentation of main phases for the implementation of AZAs and of the main parameters used within two case studies in Monastir (Tunisia) and Valona (Albania)

  • Sharing experiences from pilot studies on AZAs in the private sector, NGOs and administrations

    • Presentation of different aquaculture stakeholder perspectives on integrating aquaculture into coastal zones through the establishment of AZAs

  • The use of CMEMS data for aquaculture sites selection

    • Presentation of information services based on satellite earth observation and on situ (non-space) data (Copernicus)

  • The Blue-Cloud project for aquaculture cage detection

    • Presentation of the European H2020 project Blue-Cloud

View a recording of the seminar here. For more information on AZAs, please see our latest publications. 


Houssam Hamza

Aquaculture Officer, CAQ Backstopping Officer, GFCM


Abir Benjeddou

Quality Manager of Nakbi Holding 

Anton Ellenbroek

Consultant Project Development, FIAS, FAO of the UN

Linda Fourdain

AZA Establishment, GIS application and statistical analysis specialist, GFCM

Maissa Gharbi

Master's Degree Student in biology and ecology of the marine environment and the sustainable use of its resources, University of Napoli Federico II, Italy

Member of Notre Grand Bleu Association

Dr. Manel Ben Ismail

Director of Notre Grand Bleu Association 

Dr. Foued Mestiri

Head Manager of the Tunisian Technical Aquaculture Center

Erika M.D. Porporato, PhD

Marine Ecologist and Researcher at IMC Foundation of Oristano (Sardinia)


Emmanuel Blondel

Geographic Information Systems and R Expert, FIAS, FAO of the UN


Marc Taconet

Senior Fishery Officer, FIAS, FAO of the UN