On 25 and 26 September 2018, Fisheries Ministers from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and the European Commission officially launched a detailed Plan of Action to ensure a sustainable future for small-scale fisheries and the marine environment in the region.
WWF strongly welcomed the Plan and its crucial commitment to strengthen fishers’ participation in the management of marine resources, finally turning the tide on decades of overfishing and mismanagement.
The adoption of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea (RPOA-SSF) concluded a two-day High-Level Conference organised by GFCM-FAO in Malta, with the contribution of the European Commission, the Maltese Government and WWF. National authorities, fishers’ groups and NGOs presented new sustainable ways to manage fishing activities in the world’s most over-exploited region.
To further promote the implementation of the Plan of Action, WWF, GFCM-FAO and other organisations also launched the “Friends of Small-Scale Fisheries” Platform. This will ensure the much-needed collaboration among key stakeholders to transform small-scale fisheries into a more competitive and sustainable sector.
WWF, in partnership with GFCM-FAO and other organisations, is already leading the single largest initiative on small-scale fisheries to increase capacity and develop co-management schemes in 21 selected sites in Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria. All together, these nine countries represent more than 60% of the small-scale fisheries sector in the region.
Since ancient times small-scale fishers have played a crucial socio-economic and cultural role in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Still today they represent 84 percent of the fishing fleet and secure jobs for over 300,000 people.
But decades of overfishing have severely depleted the marine resources of both regions, threatening the survival of the whole sector and the livelihoods of many coastal communities.
WWF believes and has already demonstrated that bringing fishers into the decision making processes (co-management) is crucial to ensure the development of sustainable fishing practices that allow fish stock recovery, protect the marine ecosystems and secure livelihoods for local communities in the Mediterranean. Co-management offers a process within which the most innovative solutions are more likely to emerge, overcoming many of the failings of conventional resource management.
As a reponse, WWF has launched the largest single initiative to deliver sustainable fisheries management and engage with fishers, authorities, and other stakeholders at the regional level. WWF will be working in 20 pilot sites in Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Turkey, incorporating the ongoing work in Algeria, Albania, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia and France.
WWF, GFCM-FAO, LIFE, CIHEAM, MEDAC and BlSAC have launched the Friends of Small Scale Fisheries Platform to promote transnational collaboration and coordination among regional stakeholders in order to secure a sustainable future to people and marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.
The Platform members commit to increase knowledge collection and exchange on SSF, develop inititiaves and projects to better define, share and implement sustainable solution and good practices and develop joint concepts and proposals that may be useful for the scientific and socio-economic debates currently in progress.