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Mediterranean countries step up the game for better managed and transparent fisheries that preserve vulnerable species.

Rome, Split – The 46th Session of the General Fisheries Commission (GFCM-FAO) for the Mediterranean closed its door today with a positive record-breaking number of 24 binding recommendations and 10 resolutions that will step up transparency and compliance in Mediterranean fisheries and set global examples for the sustainable management of common dolphinfish and the conservation of vulnerable species.

Marco Costantini, Fisheries Manager at WWF Mediterranean said:

“ While the status of many fish stocks in the Mediterranean remains concerning, urgency has prompted Mediterranean countries to take an unprecedentedly high number of decisions towards improving fisheries management. Today we can be satisfied, the GFCM has once again shown it’s focused on solving the problem. Now we must keep this pace and reduce fishing pressure." 

Among the many positive outcomes of this year’s Session, WWF applauds the Parties’ decision to put in place a new compliance mechanism with measures for countries not abiding by the rules, and new inspection schemes in the Adriatic and for the common dolphinfish. WWF also welcomes two further important GFCM decisions that set a global precedent for regional seas, namely the adoption of the first regional multi-annual fisheries management plan for the common dolphinfish, and the regional plan of action to monitor and mitigate interactions between fisheries and vulnerable species, including mammals, seabirds, marine turtles, sturgeons and sharks. 

WWF remains extremely concerned about the endangered red coral populations [1] and the critically endangered European eel in the Mediterranean Sea.  While we  call on all countries to drastically improve reporting, we believe that if the status of these species does not show signs of improvement in the near future a full ban of red coral and eel fisheries will be unavoidable.  

Finally, WWF supports GFCM’s decisions focused on reducing the CO2 footprint of the Mediterranean fishing fleet, which is the first of its kind, and on assessing the overall Mediterranean fishing capacity, so as to have the means in the future to balance fishing pressure with the status of the stocks. 
© Istock/WWF Mediterranean
GFCM Commission adopted the first regional multi-annual fisheries management plan for the common dolphinfish
© Michel Gunther / WWF
Red coral on the market in Tabarka Tunisia