The high-level meeting on the future strategy for the Mediterranean and Black Sea has taken place under the umbrella of the FAO General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).
Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries attended the meeting, as well as the fisheries ministers of GFCM contracting parties.
Participants reconfirmed the political commitments under the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations and launched the process defining a new common strategy for ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
“The MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations have already changed the way we manage our fisheries, but we continue to face major challenges such as overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, climate change, plastic pollution, economic hardships and now Covid-19,” said Commissioner Sinkevičius. “This is a difficult process, and thus coordinated action is needed to ensure a future for fishermen and women in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.”
The Commissioner underlined the need for an ambitious future strategy to ensure the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture, stressing the importance of adopting more management plans, ensuring a robust scientific basis for future conservation measures, strengthening the culture of compliance and the fight against IUU fishing, as well as minimising and mitigating the unwanted impact of fisheries on marine ecosystems.
The GFCM will continue to work on the future strategy for 2021-2025, which is expected to be adopted at the next annual meeting scheduled to take place in Athens in June 2021.