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New European Strategy for Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

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The European General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) has adopted its new 2030 Strategy for the Mediterranean and Black Sea at the end of the 44th annual session, some weeks ago. An agreement was also reached on an ambitious package of measures translating strategy into concrete actions.

“The new GFCM 2030 Strategy provides the framework and the necessary tools to ensure a sustainable, just and inclusive future for our fleets and our local communities, while protecting the ecosystems. We understand that we must act quickly and decisively.

Therefore, under the leadership of the European Union, the GFCM has already started to implement the strategy with the adoption of an ambitious package of measures at the annual session. The EU remains committed to the implementation of the new strategy. This is why we will also increase our financial contribution through the GFCM Grant”, said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

For aquaculture, the strategy sets the framework for long-term governance and responsible investment. It also promotes new technology and best practices through the GFCM’s regional knowledge-sharing hubs and aquaculture demonstration centres.

“In parallel to the adoption of the new strategy, the implementation process was launched immediately. 35 GFCM recommendations and resolutions translating the objectives and targets of the strategy into concrete actions were adopted at the meeting, with 33 of those tabled by the EU.

The recommendations include important measures to improve fisheries management and control in the Adriatic and Black Seas, better protect sensitive species and habitats, and consolidate the monitoring and control framework, including combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) activities in both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The new strategy builds on recent achievements, with its five targets, it takes an integrated approach to the complex challenges in the region and the “green transition’’. It addresses issues such as the condition of the marine environment and preserving biodiversity in order to provide maximum sustainably yields (MSY). The strategy will also help to consolidate GFCM member’s ability to take strong action against IUU fishing and create a level playing field around both sea basins.

Furthermore, the strategy continues to support local communities and their livelihoods along the value chain, with special focus on small-scale fisheries. There will also be coordinated measures to ensure decent working conditions, support young people and properly recognise the role of women in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, as well as promote the participatory decision-making process. 

In addition, the European Union and the MS were granted a Compliance Award, recognising their commitment to observing and implementing all GFCM decisions and data submission requirements (Category 1 – Full compliance).

The GFCM 2030 Strategy was prepared through a series of high-level events and technical meetings in 2020 and 2021. It was politically endorsed on 9 July 2021 and formally adopted with a GFCM Resolution at the 44th annual session.

In line with the UN Agenda 2030, the strategy covers a ten-year period until 2030. A mid-term review of its objectives and outcomes will assess the progress of its implementation.

The GFCM 2030 Strategy is articulated around five targets. Each target is composed of expected outputs and strategic actions, including an action plan comprised of a set of detailed actions. This action plan will be regularly updated.

The implementation of measures from this plan is already underway, through the decisions adopted at the 44th GFCM annual session. The European Union presented 35 proposals for recommendations and resolutions, 33 of which were adopted. For the remaining two proposals, the regional partners requested more time to assess at technical level, with a view to adopting them at the next annual session in 2022. 

The European Union will support the implementation of the strategy with an increased financial grant.

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