General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Commission - 45th session

7 November 2022 -11 November 2022

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The forty-fifth session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the twelfth session of the Committee on Administration and Finance (CAF) were attended by delegates of 22 contracting parties, two cooperating non-contracting parties and two non-contracting parties. Representatives from 13 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 2021–2022 intersession and adopted 21 decisions, including 17 binding recommendations and 4 resolutions. 

In relation to the management of fisheries, the Commission adopted multiannual management plans for iEuropean eel in the Mediterranean Sea; ii) the sustainable exploitation of blackspot seabream in the Alboran Sea; iii) the sustainable exploitation of demersal stocks in the Strait of Sicily; iv) the sustainable exploitation of giant red shrimp and blue and red shrimp stocks in the Strait of Sicily and in the Ionian Sea; and v) turbot fisheries in the Black Sea as well as a management plan for the sustainable exploitation of red coral in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, it adopted the implementation of a fishing effort regime for key demersal stocks in the Adriatic Sea in 2023 and a regional research programme for rapa whelk fisheries in the Black Sea as well as a set of minimum standards for fisheries restricted areas in the GFCM area of application and a set of minimum rules for sustainable recreational fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea. 

With a view to strengthening compliance and preventing illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, the Commission also adopted recommendations on the establishment of a GFCM logbook, the regulation of transshipment in the GFCM area of application and  on information contained in the GFCM record of authorized vessels over 15 metres in the GFCM area of application as well as recommendations on international joint inspection and surveillance schemes i) outside the waters under national jurisdiction in the Strait of Sicily; outside the waters under national jurisdiction in the Ionian Sea. 

In relation to aquaculture, the Commission adopted a resolution on empowering women in the aquaculture sector. In addition, to guide its future work, the Commission also adopted a resolution on a research programme on jellyfish in the western Mediterranean (geographical subareas 1 to 3), a resolution on the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and a resolution on the launch of a roadmap for the establishment of a fisheries restricted area in the Cabliers coral mound in the Alboran Sea with a view to adopting adequate protection and management measures.

The Commission then adopted the revised GFCM Rules of Procedure with the addition of a new paragraph to Rule V governing the term of office of the GFCM Executive Secretary. The Commission thanked the GFCM Executive Secretary ad interim, Mr Manuel Barange, and unanimously approved the proposal by the FAO Director-General to appoint Mr Bernal as the new GFCM Executive Secretary. Finally, it adopted its programme of work for the next intersession and approved its autonomous budget for 2023, amounting to USD 2 291 799, and its autonomous budget for 2024 and 2025, both amounting to USD 2 462 221 as well as strategic actions to be funded through extrabudgetary resources. It also endorsed the new CAF Bureau for two years and extended the mandate of the Bureau of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Aquaculture.