General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Research programme on red coral

Red coral (Corallium rubrum) has experienced a decrease in landings in the Mediterranean over the past 20 years and, in some areas, its shallow populations are nearly depleted.

In order to fill important knowledge gaps on the status of red coral in the region, contracting parties and cooperating non-contracting parties (CPCs) at the thirty-eighth session of the GFCM (FAO headquarters, May 2014) agreed to the establishment of a research programme on red coral.



  • Investigate harvested populations of red coral by means of onboard observers, deep-sea diving and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) surveys, and provide precautionary advice on the status of red coral populations.
  • Compile information on existing traceability mechanisms in Mediterranean countries and provide recommendations to strengthen and harmonize them, through a pilot project on traceability mechanisms for raw coral colonies collected within the GFCM area of application.
  • Conduct laboratory analyses on samples of live red coral colonies and extend to focus on ex-situ laboratory analyses on harvested populations of red coral.
  • Develop suitable stock assessment models for red coral, as well as study the dynamics and timing of recovery of harvested populations and of now protected (but previously exploited) populations within marine protected or no-take areas.
  • Conduct a pilot project involving detailed analysis of the socioeconomic aspects of Mediterranean red coral fisheries.


Learn more about the GFCM's research programmes.