General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Launch of surveys-at-sea in Algeria to improve the management of fish stocks


The GFCM has signed a Letter of Agreement with Algeria for the execution of joint pelagic and demersal surveys in Algerian waters with the National Centre for Research and Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CNRDPA).  

Algeria is the third largest fisheries producer in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, with an average annual landing of 103 000 tonnes (SOMFI 2020). In order to guarantee the sustainability of fish stocks, Algeria puts in place fisheries management measures in line with GFCM recommendations. These management measures derive from scientific advice formulated, inter alia, on the basis of the assessment of demersal and pelagic stocks.  

Surveys-at-sea provide essential information on these stocks, including population distribution and demographic structure. This data is critical to accurately assess the status of resources and to precisely estimate indicators at the population and fish community levels.  

Scientific surveys took place this summer to collect data on western Mediterranean fish stocks and ecosystems and contribute to regional analyses on the status of Mediterranean fisheries. In addition to supporting the formulation of advice on pelagic and demersal species, the results of these scientific surveys will provide important information on the status of vulnerable marine species and litter in the Mediterranean. The results will also assist in modelling the dynamics of the main target species in each GFCM subregion. 

As it is critical that scientific surveys are harmonized across the region to define minimum requirements towards regional sustainability and management objectives, the GFCM has developed a survey protocol aimed at encouraging the adoption of standardized survey methods, stratification schemes, time series and common methodologies for data collection. The Technical guidelines for scientific surveys in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea are supporting the planning and implementation of regional demersal (bottom and beam) trawl and pelagic acoustic surveys.  

These scientific surveys-at-sea in Algeria follow scientific bottom-trawl surveys carried out in Morocco and Tunisia in 2019 and have been carried out throughout the summer, in parallel to demersal scientific surveys in Egypt and Morocco. These surveys all follow the common technical guidelines and use a standardized fishing gear, in most cases procured by the GFCM, to ensure comparable results. With a view to further contribute to increasing the knowledge on Mediterranean fishery resources, an exploratory survey in Lebanon is planned for September 2021.