General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC) - 23rd session

21 June 2022 -24 June 2022


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The Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC) of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) held its twenty-third session in hybrid modality, from 21 to 24 June 2022. The session was attended by delegates from 20 Mediterranean contracting parties, 11 observers, as well as representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Fisheries Division, the GFCM Secretariat and invited experts. The Committee reviewed the work carried out during the 2021–2022 intersession and endorsed the MedSea4Fish guiding document, which provides an implementation framework following the establishment of the programme at the forty-fourth session of the GFCM. The Committee provided advice on the status of priority stocks and ecosystems and on potential management measures addressing key fisheries and vulnerable species in the Mediterranean, including for European eel and red coral. In line with the subregional approach, the Committee formulated advice focusing on: i) common dolphinfish and blackspot seabream fisheries in the western Mediterranean; ii) small pelagic and bottom trawl fisheries exploiting demersal stocks, particularly European hake and deep-water rose shrimp, in the central Mediterranean; iii) deep-water red shrimp, giant red shrimp and blue and red shrimp fisheries in the eastern-central Mediterranean, including their interactions with vulnerable megaufana; iv) non-indigenous species in the eastern Mediterranean, and v) small pelagic and demersal fisheries in the Adriatic. The Committee also agreed on the technical soundness of a proposal for the establishment of a fisheries restricted area (FRA) in the Cabliers Coral Mound, reviewed and endorsed a proposal for a large-scale multiannual pilot study on trawl selectivity in the Strait of Sicily and reviewed the updated proposal from Libya to divide the Libyan coast (GSA 21) into three marine subareas, to be submitted to the Commission. At the regional level, the Committee provided advice on the following: i) minimum conservation reference size for GFCM priority species; ii) spatial distribution of fishing effort, especially bottom of trawl fisheries, to understand the spatial dynamics of specific fisheries and inform spatial management measures, including vulnerable marine ecosystems and other effective area-based conservation measures; and iii) ensuring and assessing the effectiveness of FRAs and establishing minimal standards for the monitoring of FRAs. With regard to recreational and small-scale fisheries, the Committee endorsed lists of species of importance and expressed support for a dedicated research programme for recreational fisheries. It also noted the importance of further enhancing the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Committee discussed additional work in support of the GFCM, endorsing dedicated research programmes as well as other activities to enhance fisheries management in the region. Finally, the Committee agreed upon its work plan for 2022–2024.