Sharing 46,000 km of coastline the numerous nations bordering the Mediterranean are collaborating to curb IUU fishing.
75% of Mediterranean and Black Sea fish stocks are judged to be currently overfished. According to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) management strategy evaluation work, these fish stocks could recover if IUU fishing is eliminated.
Under the framework of the GFCM, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) is working with Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Libya, Montenegro and Tunisia to ensure that inspections at sea are consistent across the region.
The role of inspections in the Mediterranean is critical to ensure compliance with fisheries rules. The GFCM is developing an international joint surveillance and inspection scheme across the Mediterranean to train national inspectors and enhance the access and exchange of information and data in the region.
EFCA has chartered offshore patrol vessel Lundy Sentinel to support the deployment and exchange of inspectors from various countries and enhance compliance, capacity building and the exchange of best practices in real operational situations in the field.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the exploration of new methods of control including the use of remote electronic monitoring, reinforcing the electronic logbook (ERS) and the use of new technologies as fishing gear sensors and marking through dedicated pilot actions. Using these new control methods, the number of inspections and sightings reported and transmitted to the GFCM Secretariat has continued to increase.
To complement EFCA’s practical trainings, and in line with the commitments taken in the Malta MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration, the GFCM provides trainings on international law and GFCM decisions on monitoring, control and surveillance to continue to build the capacity of inspectors in the fight against IUU fishing. In 2022, a virtual training academy for fisheries inspectors will be open to Mediterranean countries to further support comprehensive and harmonious inspections at sea.
Offshore patrol vessel Lundy Sentinel. Image: European Fisheries Control Agency