General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Close to 200 fishers and scientists participated in a day of discussions on SSF


On Science Day, the FAO Mediterranean Projects, AdriaMed, CopeMedII, EastMed, MedSudMed, and the GFCM BlackSea4Fish project, organized a workshop to address common regional small-scale fisheries (SSF) issues such as collaborative science (including participatory data collection, reporting and monitoring), local ecological knowledge (LEK), climate change and the environmental impacts of fishing.

"The main objective of today’s event is to promote the collaboration between those who live in the sea and of the sea – the fishers – and those that study the seas to guide the decisions of our managers – the scientists," said Marcelo Vasconcellos, FAO Fisheries Resource Officer. "Fishers have a profound knowledge of their environment, of the resources they depend on for their living, and most importantly of how the environment and resources are changing over time. This knowledge is of invaluable importance and should be taken into consideration when managing our fisheries".

Nino Accetta, fisher representative from Federcoopesca in Sicily agreed: “There’s a need to build a bridge between fishers, researchers and decision-makers". This workshop thus presented an occasion to hear directly from fishers on how to:

  • Encourage fisher engagement in scientific research
  • Develop a common language for fishers and scientists
  • Ensure effective communication and reporting of results of studies

The SSF Forum is designed to build the capacities of small-scale fishers and fish workers on select topics, to share knowledge and to promote the exchange of best practices throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. It consists of a series of workshops and sessions for small-scale fisheries stakeholders, focusing on the fishers and fish-workers active in the sector. This workshop took place simultaneously in Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Egypt, Gaza strip-Palestine, Italy, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.

“The SSF Forum was created to give small-scale fishers a platform to exchange and learn from each other,” explains Anna Carlson, GFCM Fishery Officer for socio-economic issues. “Today’s event – despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the need to transform it into an online event – was a remarkable occasion to reinforce the relationship between scientists and fishers around the region. Based on the input and feedback received in today’s discussions, we look forward to continuing to develop similar exchanges.”

The next workshop on "Co-management best practices: learning exchange and virtual site visit" will be organized by the WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative on November 24. + info

Hear from fishers and scientists 

Scientists and small-scale fishers