Working groups from the GFCM have met to discuss stock levels in the Mediterranean Photo: GFCMWorking groups from the GFCM have met to discuss stock levels in the Mediterranean Photo: GFCM

More than 80 experts from 15 countries have come together to obtain the most up-to-date picture of the status of the stocks in the Mediterranean.

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Working Groups on Stock Assessment (WGSAs) met online to review the stock assessments of demersal and small pelagic species across 24 geographical subareas (GSAs).

Of the 20 small pelagic species analysed, three stocks were considered sustainably exploited (anchovy in GSA 20, anchovy and sardine in GSA 09), 11 overexploited, two remained uncertain and one was deemed ecologically unbalanced.

Fifty-four stocks of demersal species, including fish, crustaceans and cephalopods, were analysed. Four stocks (red mullet in GSAs 15, 22 and 24 and Norway lobster in GSA 09) were considered sustainably exploited while 50 indicated some level of overexploitation.

A number of new assessments were also presented with proposals made to assess others over the next intersession.

There has been a gradual change in method to make better use of available data and the WGSAs also noted that significant efforts were being made to address scant data for some stocks. The need to objectively assess the performance of the different models and to better specify the life-history characteristics of many stocks was also underlined.

Finally, the WGSAs commended improvements made to promote transparency and collaboration made possible thanks to new tools, in particular a new data system called ‘GFCM Stock Assessment Results’ or ‘STAR’.

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