The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) convened in Marrakesh on June 11-12 a high level conference to renew commitments made under the MedFish4Ever declaration to ensure a long-term sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries, and explore ways of combating poverty, reducing marginalization and promoting resilient livelihoods.
The MedFish4Ever declaration was signed in 2017 by 16 Mediterranean countries and the European Commission to counter the threats facing fish stocks across the Mediterranean.
The signatories are Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey. They pledge to take decisive steps to improve the management and governance of their fisheries.
The Marrakesh conference, which brought together the MedFish4Ever signatories, focused on improving working conditions in the fishing sector and on fighting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
During the conference, Morocco received a special recognition for its good practice and efforts in combating IUU fishing at a ceremony held in presence of minister of agriculture and fisheries Aziz Akhannouch, his Mediterranean peers, European Commissioner for maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella and several NGOs representatives.
MedFish4Ever recognizes that coastal communities need to be protected against the risks and uncertainties that come from being reliant on fishing.
In the Mediterranean region, fishing plays a central role in society, providing food and jobs across the region. Today, some 250,000 people are directly employed on fishing boats, along with many hundreds of thousands who work in the industry and its supply chains on shore.
The Mediterranean fleet used to catch nearly 1 million tons of fish per year, but this figure has been decreasing to 850 000 tons in the last decade. Like many fisheries worldwide, the future of this activity in the Mediterranean region has been seriously threatened over the last decade by overfishing, increased pollution and other anthropogenic factors.
IUU fishing is causing serious problems across the Mediterranean, because it undermines the opportunity to guarantee a sound implementation of management plans which are needed for stock recovery.
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is a regional fisheries management organization established under the provisions of the FAO. Its main objective is to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea.
The GFCM is helping MedFish4Ever signatories to work together and implement a shared regional plan of action to combat IUU fishing.