Sustainable exploitation measures for key fish stocks in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

On May 2013 the 37th session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) took place in Split, Croatia.

During this session GFCM has approved a number of historic conservation and management measures to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of key fish stocks in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

The decision was based on scientific advice. The stock assessment on 41 stocks in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, pointed out a total of 22 demersal stocks subjected to fishing pressures higher than those recommended (overexploitation), 2 of which having biomass levels lower than those recommended (overexploited) and 2 other small pelagic stocks were considered as overexploited. In light of this situation, Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) advised to reduce fishing mortality for those stocks.

The reasons mentioned leading to reduced fish stocks included other factors, besides fishing, such as species invasions. However the only way to improve the condition of stocks under any kind of stress is to minimize human pressure on them.

For the first time in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, a multi-annual sub-regional management plan for a shared fishery has been adopted.

This plan addresses the management of small pelagic species, namely sardine and anchovy, in the Adriatic Sea, with a view to minimizing the threat of overfishing and stock decline and encouraging the sustainable exploitation of these important target species while maintaining stable yields.

In the Black Sea area, the GFCM has adopted binding provisions to guarantee the protection of juvenile turbots until they reach the reproductive size, therefore contributing to the renewal of this population.

This measure also foresees standards for turbot fisheries aimed at reducing by-catch of cetaceans.

The GFCM members have also agreed upon significant actions to strengthen the control and monitoring of fishing effort and fishing capacity through the adoption of guidelines to guarantee the enforcement of GFCM decisions and to strengthen governance in the management of fisheries through the establishment of protected areas.

(Article’s Sources: Worldfishing & Aquaculture newsGFCM news, 37th GFCM Report)