General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Commission - 46th session

6 November 2023 -10 November 2023

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The forty-sixth session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the thirteenth session of the Committee on Administration and Finance (CAF) were attended by delegates of 20 contracting parties and three cooperating 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 attendance. During the session, the Commission reviewed progress in activities implemented during the 2022–2023 intersession and adopted 34 decisions, including 24 recommendations and 10 resolutions. 

During the session, progress in work related to fisheries, aquaculture, compliance and other strategic activities was reviewed. In relation to the management of fisheries and compliance in the GFCM area of application, 24 recommendations were adopted, dealing with: i) the establishment of a fisheries restricted area in the Gulf of Lion; ii) the definition of a minimum conservation reference size for giant red shrimp and blue and red shrimp in the Strait of Sicily, in the Ionian Sea, in the Levant Sea, as well as for blackspot seabream in the Alboran Sea; iii) the management of European eel and red coral in the Mediterranean Sea, iv) the establishment of a regional management plan for fishing capacity; v) international joint inspection and surveillance schemes outside waters under jurisdiction in the Mediterranean and in the Adriatic Sea; vi) the establishment of a catch documentation scheme for coral in the Mediterranean Sea and for turbot in the Black Sea; vii) the extension of management measures and plans for turbot, piked dogfish and sprat fisheries and of the research programme on rapa whelk in the Black Sea; viii) the extension of the fishing regime and the establishment of catch limits in 2024 for small pelagic stocks, as well as the implementation of a fishing effort for key demersal stocks, in the Adriatic Sea; ix) the mitigation of bottlenose dolphin depredation in small pelagic fisheries in the southern Alboran Sea; x) vessel sightings and establishment of a list of vessels presumed to have carried out illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; xi) clarifying the application of compliance recommendations and establishing a compliance and capacity inventory to support the work of the Compliance Committee.   

In addition, the Commission adopted 10 resolutions in relation to fisheries and aquaculture, dealing with: i) the deep-water fisheries restricted area and spatial management measures in the Cabliers coral mound area; ii) the mitigation of fisheries impacts on sturgeon; iii) a regional plan of action to monitor and mitigate interactions between fisheries and vulnerable species; iv) decarbonization of fishing activities and aquaculture; v) plastic use, waste management and climate resilience in aquaculture; vi) the restriction and prohibition of use of driftnets in the Mediterranean. 

Finally, the Commission adopted its programme of work for the next intersession and approved its autonomous budget for 2024, amounting to USD 2 462 221, and its autonomous budget for 2025 and 2026, each year amounting to USD 2 462 221. The Commission also extended the mandate of its current Bureau for two additional years and endorsed the new Bureaus of the Compliance Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries.