An ambitious commitment adopted by 22 countries plus the European Union aims to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Announcing the new strategy, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu highlighted its alignment with FAO’s new Strategic Framework and its importance in these challenging times.
The launch of the 2030 Strategy of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) comes with the backing of many inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations and marks the beginning of a critical decade of development for the two sectors.
‘The Covid-19 pandemic hit fisheries and aquaculture activities in the Mediterranean and Black Sea hard, with substantial decreases in operations, production and drastic drops in prices for aquatic products,’ Qu Dongyu said. ‘In building back, we must ensure that recovery efforts focus on the long-term sustainability and resilience of the sector.’
The FAO DG commended the GFCM for helping members address the significant challenges that Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries currently face. He noted that the new 2030 GFCM Strategy will play a key role in addressing them further, as well as in protecting livelihoods derived from small-scale fisheries.
He also highlighted FAO’s readiness to support the efforts of the GFCM, including through its Covid-19 Response and Recovery Programme. He further stated that the new FAO Strategic Framework for the next decade provides a clear path to sustainably transform all agri-food systems – including fisheries and aquaculture – to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.
Fisheries and aquaculture play a vital role in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region, supporting hundreds of thousands of livelihoods – but fisheries and aquaculture sectors face increasing challenges from climate change, overfishing and IUU fishing, and serious action is needed to preserve the fish stocks and other resources, on which so many people depend.
The last five years have seen progress with the GCFM has adopting a solid body of conservation and management measures to protect marine living resources and convenes a number of technical meetings that pioneer the development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and the protection of marine ecosystems at regional and sub-regional level. Bottom-up engagement technical input from scientists and other experts have been backed by ministerial commitments on improved fisheries governance and funding for the fast-growing aquaculture sector.
The GFCM 2030 Strategy aims to take this progress to the next level, building on the lessons learned so far and accelerating efforts to meet the many challenges that remain.