Mediterranean countries unite against IUU fishing
Sharing 46,000 km of coastline, the many nations bordering the Mediterranean are working together to fight against IUU fishing.
75% of the fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea are currently overexploited. According to the assessment work of the management strategy of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), these fish stocks could recover if IUU fishing were eliminated.
Within the framework of the GFCM, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) works with Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Libya, Montenegro and Tunisia to ensure the consistency of inspections at sea in the whole region.
The role of inspections in the Mediterranean is essential to ensure compliance with fishing rules. The GFCM is developing a joint international surveillance and inspection program across the Mediterranean to train national inspectors and improve access and exchange of information and data in the region.
EFCA chartered offshore patrol vessel Lundy Sentinel support the deployment and exchange of inspectors from various countries and improve compliance, capacity building and exchange of good practices in real operational situations in the field.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the exploration of new control methods including the use of electronic remote monitoring, the strengthening of the electronic logbook (ERS) and the use of new technologies such as vehicle sensors. fishing and tagging through dedicated pilot actions. Thanks to these new control methods, the number of inspections and observations reported and transmitted to the GFCM Secretariat continued to increase.
To complement the practical trainings of the EFCA, and in line with the commitments made in the Malta Ministerial Declaration MedFish4Ever, the GFCM offers trainings on international law and GFCM decisions on monitoring, control and surveillance in order to continue to strengthen the capacities of inspectors in the fight against IUU fishing. . In 2022, a virtual training academy for fisheries inspectors will be opened to Mediterranean countries to further support full and harmonious inspections at sea.
Offshore patrol vessel Lundy Sentinel. Image: European Fisheries Control Agency