The GFCM has a new 2030 Strategy for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
The 22 countries parties to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean plus the European Union adopted today 9 July the 2030 Strategy of the Commission. This ambitious commitment aims to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The 10-year strategy was built through a participatory process involving a wide array of stakeholders and partners.
Far more than just an aspirational vision, the 2030 Strategy has clearly defined aims and is rooted in practical actions. These fall under five central targets.
It is focused on creating productive fisheries in healthy seas. The 2030 Strategy takes an integrated approach towards the many threats to the marine environment, working to conserve biodiversity and provide maximum sustainably yields, on the basis of enhanced oriented research and data collection in support of science-based fisheries management plans.
Good fisheries management needs effective compliance and enforcement mechanisms, and these are the focus of the second of the targets. The Strategy lays the ground for GFCM members to take strong action against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, stamping out crime and ensuring only legal products reach the market. Centralized monitoring, control and surveillance technology, with joint compliance and enforcement policies transposed into national laws, create a level playing field for legitimate fishers.
Meanwhile aquaculture has its own unique requirements, and these inform the third target. While creating long-term governance and responsible investment frameworks, the Strategy promotes new technology and best practices through the GFCM’s regional knowledge-sharing hubs and aquaculture demonstration centres. Their work will further strengthen sector resilience and sustainability against a backdrop of continued growth, and encourage community involvement in its development.
Thriving communities and better livelihoods right along the value chain – particularly in small-scale fisheries, the backbone of the industry – are the fourth target. The GFCM is finding new ways to help fishers improve their revenues, from increasing the value of their catches to diversifying their activities – and by making fisheries sustainable in the long term, the revenues will be sustainable too. On shore, greater involvement in local management decisions and stronger social protection structures will both contribute to making fisher livelihoods more secure.
Finally, one of the GFCM’s greatest strengths is the way in which it brings together a hugely diverse range of actors, from governments and fishers to academia and NGOs, all of whom have important contributions to make to shared objectives. The fifth target is focused on using GFCM expertise and convening power to build capacity and provide technical support at the national and subregional levels to ensure policy commitments made by the GFCM Membership are met, establishing a level playing field across the region.
Other important areas cut across the Strategy targets and are embedded in its DNA. The role of women and young people in fisheries and aquaculture is one of these: the plan contains a series of measures to promote equal opportunities for women across the board, and to substantially increase vocational youth training to support the fishing communities of the future.
Small-scale fisheries represent the overwhelming majority of fishing vessels (83 percent) and fishing-based jobs (57 percent), playing a unique and irreplaceable social, economic and cultural role in the region. Across all its targets, the GFCM 2030 Strategy accelerates efforts to strengthen their overall resilience and increase their long-term sustainability.