The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the FAO has launched a major scientific database on Black Sea fisheries.
This platform, which was created collaboratively within the BlackSea4Fish project, will act as a research hub and will bring together scientists, students, administrators and members of the public interested in fisheries-related topics.
The platform reflects the diversity of the region, with contributions from more than a hundred researchers from six Black Sea countries. It holds three main datasets: a database of fisheries experts, a comprehensive publications database, and a species reference database reflecting biological indicators extracted from those publications. It will gradually expand to serve wider data and information purposes.
‘The aim was to provide a platform that would be populated and overseen by Black Sea experts,’ said Ali Cemal Gücü, Professor at the Middle East Technical University Institute of Marine Sciences in Mersin, Türkiye and Chair of the Subregional Group on Stock Assessment for the Black Sea.
‘Thus, everyone willing to contribute to the sustainable use of living resources of this precious sea can join, and all information that can allow for a better understanding of the Black Sea ecosystem will be shared.’
‘The platform is a valuable tool and a great example of successful collaboration among very diverse stakeholders from multiple countries,’ commented GFCM BlackSea4Fish Project Coordinator Hüseyin Özbilgin.
‘The database has great potential to become a true research hub, which will further enhance our common efforts towards achieving sustainable Black Sea fisheries.’
Because the Black Sea is located on a deep depression and 90% of its volume is deprived of oxygen, fish and fisheries have concentrated on the narrow continental shelf. The Black Sea also displays significant regional climatic differences, so most fishes are forced to undergo long range, transboundary feeding, spawning and overwintering migrations.
With natural resources confined to geographically discrete regions but spread across different political territories, it is crucial to have integrated and internationally coordinated resources management strategies. The GFCM has spearheaded these efforts over the past few years, and the Black Sea database is a result of this work.
The one-of-a-kind platform provides opportunities for networking and collaboration between scientists, universities and research centres in Black Sea countries as well as access to publications relevant to the field. BlackSea4Fish project staff will check and moderate all contributions and then publish them online through an interactive dashboard.