WWF: GFCM reform, the opportunity for the future of Mediterranean Fisheries | WWF

WWF: GFCM reform, the opportunity for the future of Mediterranean Fisheries

Posted on
16 May 2014

Barcelona, Spain & Rome, Italy – as the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean meet in Rome from 19 to 24 May to adopt its new reform, WWF recalls the urgency to ensure a completely revised legal framework of the organization that guarantees the sustainability of fishing activities in the Mediterranean while preserving biodiversity and functionality of marine ecosystems.

“Fishing in the Mediterranean has a strong social and economic impact on coastal communities and represents a fundamental source of animal protein for the entire region. The recent outcomes of the GFCM scientific committee confirm the alarming conservation status of nearly 90% of the Mediterranean stocks assessed. This means we have failed in managing the region’s fisheries so far. It is urgent to revert the current situation”, said Susana Sainz-Trapaga, Policy Officer at WWF Mediterranean.

A process of modernization of the GFCM legal and institutional framework started in 2011. But now results have to be concrete and during this 2014 annual meeting the GFCM is expected to adopt a new GFCM Agreement text, defining its functions and priorities.

WWF strongly asks the GFCM Contracting Parties to demonstrate their commitment to the long term sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries and livelihoods, by ensuring the following provisions are included in the new agreement:
- restore and maintain stocks above levels which can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield;
- adopt management plans for shared stock based on the ecosystem approach to fisheries and aiming at maintaining stocks above Maximum Sustainable Yield levels;
- base management measures on the best available science while integrating a precautionary approach;
- minimize impact of fishing activities on living marine resources and ecosystems by integrating measures towards (i) adapting fishing effort to the recommended fishing mortality; and (ii) minimizing discards through technical measures and time area closures within the context of management plans;
- establish fishing restricted Areas (FRAs) for the protection of critical and vulnerable marine ecosystems, including but not limited to essential fish habitats
- ensure a level playing field in the fulfillment of the conservation objectives of the Commission;
- take the appropriate measures to ensure compliance with GFCM rules;
- ensure full transparency in its functioning, and support open participation and consultation processes with the relevant stakeholders including civil society.

In parallel, WWF calls upon the GFCM Contracting Parties to react to the repeated warnings of scientists concerning the need for urgent and bold measures addressing the dire state of Mediterranean stocks, including substantial reduction of fishing effort.

WWF fully supports the adoption of a regional programme for small scale fisheries based on multi-stakeholder cooperation as it is being developed under the frame of the GFCM.

For further information:
Chantal MENARD - Communications Manager - WWF Mediterranean - Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 646 75 1038 - skype chantalmenard