General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Working Group on Marine Protected Areas (WGMPA)

Mon, Feb, 2019, 9am - Thu, Feb, 2019, 5am

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The third meeting of the Working Group on Marine Protected Areas (WGMPA) took place from 18 to 21 February 2019 at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters, Rome, Italy. As agreed by the forty-second session of the Commission (FAO headquarters, Italy, October 2018), the meeting addressed the following main tasks: i) review new and pending proposals for the establishment of GFCM fisheries restricted areas (FRAs); ii) assess the effectiveness of existing FRAs against their objectives and propose suitable scientific monitoring plans; and iii) advance on the implementation of Resolution GFCM/41/2017/5 on a network of essential fish habitats in the GFCM area of application. The meeting reviewed pending proposals for FRAs, in particular the proposal for a FRA in the Otranto channel (GSA 18), as well as a new proposal for a FRA in the Ligurian Sea (GSA 9). The WGMPA also discussed suitable ways to monitor the FRAs from a scientific point of view and identified the most relevant EFH for priority species. Finally, the meeting reiterated the importance of creating a scientific database collecting evidence on the existence of VME indicators and proposed a new template (based on the already existing VME template of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea [ICES]) to populate the database with existing and new relevant scientific information.