General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Commission - 44th session

2 November 2021 -6 November 2021

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The forty-fourth session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the eleventh session of the Committee on Administration and Finance (CAF) were attended by delegates of 22 contracting parties, four cooperating non-contracting parties and three non-contracting parties. Representatives from ten intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the GFCM Secretariat as well as invited experts were also in attendanceDuring the session, the Commission reviewed progress in activities implemented during the 2019–2021 intersession and adopted 35 decisions, including 21 binding recommendations and 14 resolutions. 

In relation to the management of fisheries, the Commission adopted multiannual management plans for ismall pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea, ii) demersal stocks in the Strait of Sicily, iii) giant red shrimp and blue and red shrimp in the Levant Sea, the Ionian Sea and the Strait of Sicily and iv) blackspot seabream in the Alboran Seaas well as management measures for sprat and piked dogfish in the Black Sea and for dolphinfish fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, it adopted measures to protect juveniles of priority species as well as a minimum conservation reference size for priority stocks in the Mediterranean Sea and fishing effort regime for key demersal stocks in the Adriatic SeaThe Commission also decided to establish fisheries restricted areas in the Bari Canyon and the Gulf of Lion and to grant permanent protection for the Jabuka/Pomo PitTo reinforce the conservation of vulnerable species, the Commission adopted four recommendations to mitigate fisheries impacts on sea turtlescetaceansseabirds and elasmobranchs and agreed to launch a data call to populate its database on sensitive benthic habitats and species

With a view to strengthening compliance and preventing illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, the Commission also adopted a recommendation on vessel sightings and established a catch certificate scheme for turbot in the Black Sea, a GFCM record of authorized vessels over 15 metres as well as a mechanism to update the list of vessels presumed to have carried out illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In addition, it adopted resolutions to reinforce vessel monitoring system, electronic logbook and reporting and to prevent abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear.

In relation to aquaculture, the Commission adopted a resolution on the reporting of information on non-indigenous species. In addition, to guide its future work, the Commission adopted the GFCM 2030 Strategy for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

The Commission then reviewed the role of the Subregional Committees of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC) and the new structure of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Aquaculture (CAQ). In relation to the mandate of the GFCM Executive Secretary, the Commission praised the work of the outgoing Executive Secretary and discussed issues regarding the selection of the next Executive Secretary. Finally, it adopted its programme of work for the next intersession and approved its autonomous budget for 2022, amounting to USD 2 462 221, as well as strategic actions to be funded through extrabudgetary resources. It also endorsed the Bureaus of the Compliance Committee and the CAF, and renewed the mandate of the Bureaus of the GFCM, SAC, CAQ and Working Group on the Black Sea.