The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has released a new report on the state of fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, revealing that overfishing has fallen below 60 percent for the first time in a decade. However, the report also warns that the region’s fish stocks are still under severe stress, with fishing pressure at twice the level considered sustainable.
According to the report, the decline in overfishing is mainly due to the implementation of management plans and technical and spatial measures by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), a regional fisheries management organization. These measures have helped some key commercial species, such as European hake, turbot and common sole, to reduce overfishing and show signs of biomass rebuilding.
However, the report also highlights the challenges and gaps that remain in achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the region. For instance, the report notes that data on the status of many stocks are still lacking, especially for small-scale fisheries, which account for more than half of the employment in the sector. Moreover, the report stresses the need to address the impacts of climate change, pollution, habitat degradation and invasive species on the marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of fishers and aquaculturists.
The report also provides, for the first time, data on the region’s marine aquaculture sector, which has grown significantly in the last decade, doubling its production and increasing its revenues by 74.5 percent. The report identifies marine aquaculture as a potential source of food security, nutrition and income generation, but also calls for more regulation, monitoring and innovation to ensure its environmental and social sustainability.
The report aims to inform decision-makers and stakeholders on the current situation and trends of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and to support the implementation of the GFCM’s 2030 Strategy and FAO’s vision for Blue Transformation. The report is available online at FAO website.