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© Claudia Amico / WWF

Mediterranean fisheries in the EU spotlight

At the global Seafood Expo in Brussels in April, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, unveiled the new EU campaign #MedFish4ever, urging the fishing sector to address the unprecedented crisis in the Mediterranean. The participation of all stakeholders in recovering stocks is key. WWF pioneered the co-management model, in which fishers, scientists, civil societies and governments have a voice and a role to play in establishing the processes and rules for fisheries management. This model has demonstrated its social, ecological and economic value, and should serve as a blueprint for tackling the current crisis in an effective and inclusive way. Read more.

Fishermen hold the key to a healthy sea

“From WWF’s perspective, the goal is to reconcile the restoration of the health of the marine environment with better livelihoods for fishers. A co-management approach allows us to find common ground, and it’s proving to be more sustainable and more profitable. We see tremendous opportunity in working with fishermen to protect the region’s livelihoods, culture and environment.” says Giuseppe Di Carlo, director of WWF’s Mediterranean Marine Programme.
See the full story of Mediterranean co-management successes here.


The Mediterranean Sea has reached a crisis point, with 93 per cent of assessed fish stocks over-exploited and trends still declining, so this EU initiative comes at a critical time. Only if all stakeholders act together can we build a new future for fish stocks, transform Mediterranean fisheries, help fishermen craft their future, and achieve improved and sustainable seafood markets

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International

Small-scale fisheries in the South
Building a future for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea © FAO

In March WWF co-organised a symposium, with GFCM and other partners, focusing on improving the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and promotion of an active role for fishermen and fisher networks. WWF strongly highlighted the social, economic and ecological value that fisheries co-management can bring. WWF’s capacity to engage in co-management and network development, with institutions and on certification and labelling is extensive, working with fisheries in the region from Gabes in Tunisia to Greece, Algeria, Croatia, Italy and Spain.

Impact of WWF MedTrends study

The results of WWF’s MedTrends study, presenting future trends of Mediterranean maritime sectors, have been shared with decision makers throughout the region. In France the Minister of Environment organised a conference on Blue Growth, congratulated WWF on the report and announced a ban on oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the French Med. In Italy and Malta the study was well received by various authorities, and in Greece and Croatia there has been extraordinary visibility in the press. In the Adriatic the report has been recognized as a valuable baseline for the implementation of the EUSAIR Macro-Regional strategy.

MPAs: an update
Sustainable tourism plans in Croatia
Lastovo Islands Nature Park, Telašćica Nature Park and the island of Dugi Otok have adopted sustainable tourism plans, the result of the first participatory planning process for sustainable tourism at the local level. WWF and Association Sunce also finalized the two studies: setting up a monitoring system for boats in Lastovo Islands and an exploratory study of financing mechanisms in Telašćica.

Information for tourists in Albania
Karaburun-Sazani National Marine Park now has a branded and attractive signing and information system. Working with WWF Netherlands, sustainable financing mechanisms have been identified for the MPA, proposing the introduction of payment for ecosystem services and public-private partnerships.

Cap Negro / Cap Serrat, Tunisia rel= © WWF Mediterranean

Ecotourism in Tunisia
WWF in Tunisia has pioneered an ecotourism initiative, the result of strategic workshops with local people for the sustainable development of the coastal region of Cap Negro / Cap Serrat. Increased tourist arrivals have been registered in the MPA following promotion of new ecotourism opportunities and the launch of the new website.

Pescatourism in Algeria
WWF’s work and cooperation with Taza National Park is now well established, and a model to be replicated in other protected areas. In March an Algerian delegation travelled to Corsica and Sardinia to study pescatourism. Participants were enthusiastic about the visit. Exchanges with French and Italian fishers, local authorities and pescatourism experts will allow them to begin the process towards the first pescatourism initiative at Taza.

Turkey: MPA management takes a step forward
For the first time government institutions and civil society organizations met as an official working group to discuss the implementation of the Marine Management Plan for Kaş-Kekova in April. Established under the coordination of the Governorship of Antalya, the group effectively administrates the management of the site, a process organized and run by WWF under the SEA-Med project.

Signatures to protect Kaş-Kekova
A new Environmental Development Plan in Antalya, privileging unsustainable development, threatens many regions including Kaş-Kekova MPA. WWF-Turkey has launched a petition to increase awareness and prevent the legalization of the new Plan.

Gyaros clean-up expedition
WWF Greece’s CYCLADES LIFE project actively involves local and regional authorities, research institutes, NGOs and area users in the process of designing the new Gyaros MPA, and promoting sustainable tourism activities inside the area. Last spring, the new participatory advisory body responsible for deciding on measures for the protection of the MPA met for the first time. WWF is active in the area with numerous initiatives. At the beginning of June, the WWF Greece field team led a clean-up expedition to Mediterranean monk seal habitat in Gyaros, with the participation of more than 40 local volunteers, to remove the plastic and other waste that threatens the survival of this endangered species.

Beyond Plastic Med 
© Beyond Plastic Med

Beyond Plastic Med
For World Oceans Day on 8 June, the task force Beyond Plastic Med launched a call for micro-initiatives on the issue of plastic for many countries in the Mediterranean basin. The initiative provides financial support for local projects working to reduce plastic pollution. Read more.

© V. Markantonoatou
Young leaders
A programme to build the next generation of leadership in Mediterranean marine conservation was launched in May on the Greek island of Syros. WWF Mediterranean’s SEA-Med project, WWF Greece CYCLADES LIFE and NOAA with the support of Reef Check Italia gathered young MPA practitioners from south and east Mediterranean countries and EU researchers to study aspects of leadership and management.

The group worked hard to define a common vision and develop a sequel for the programme, giving rise to a strong and multicultural network of passionate individuals committed to lifelong leadership development in Mediterranean marine conservation.