Mediterranean fisheries meeting provides critical opportunity to tackle overfishing

On opening day of GFCM meeting, Oceana urges Member Parties to demonstrate commitment to the reform process.

Press Release Date: May 13, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Split, Croatia. – Today, at the opening of the 37th meeting of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), Oceana calls on Contracting Parties to take action to end the persistent mismanagement and overexploitation of Mediterranean stocks.

For years, GFCM scientists have sounded the alarm on the dwindling state of fish stocks and recommended fishing pressure reductions. Nevertheless, the complete absence of fisheries management continues to be endemic to the region. This week, the GFCM is expected to discuss the implementation of precautionary management measures into the Convention area (including the reduction of fishing pressure), and lay down a roadmap for the revision of the Agreement, which entered into force more than 60 years ago.

“For decades, Mediterranean States have turned a deaf ear to GFCM scientists’ repeated calls to reduce fishing pressure in the Mediterranean,” stated Maria-José Cornax, fisheries campaign manager at Oceana. “It is preposterous that GFCM Contracting Parties still stick to the same baseless arguments to postpone any forward movement. It is time to take real action, for the fisheries, for the coastal communities’ livelihoods, and for the cultural heritage that this activity represents in the area.”

The most crucial issues to be discussed are the implementation of the long standing recommendations by GFCM scientists to reduce fishing effort for all demersal stocks by at least 10%, as well as a proposal from the European Union on a set of urgent and precautionary management measures to be put in place without waiting for the revision of the GFCM agreement, and a strengthening of the compliance framework.

“This meeting, which will also discuss the revision of the oldest regional agreement on fisheries management, is a unique opportunity for Contracting Parties to demonstrate their commitment to the reform process, by adopting for the first time the urgently needed measures to prevent any worsening of the very concerning state of the majority of stocks,” added Amelie Malafosse, policy advisor at Oceana and observer at the meeting.

About GFCM

The GFCM is the organization responsible for the management of all marine living resources in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Created in 1949, and entered into force in 1952, this regional fisheries organisation gathers 24 Countries as Contracting Parties to the Agreement. For further information: 

For more information: Flickr page of images of fishing gear in the Mediterranean

For more information: Oceana’s interactive map of fishing gear use in the Mediterranean