Fish Forum 2018: experts discuss solutions for more sustainable fisheries


On 10-14 December 2018, MAP will participate to the Fish Forum 2018 organized by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (FAO-GFCM). The event will encompass oceanographic, social science and economic perspectives on fisheries research. It will review leading work that has been carried out, while also addressing the pillars for the development of fisheries science. MAP will participate in two workshops and a side-event focusing on the relationships between fisheries and (1) Marine Protected Areas, (2) Marine litter and (3) the Ecosystem Approach. 

Fisheries and the environment: regulatory measures needed

In the Mediterranean, 85 percent of fish stocks are harvested at unsustainable levels. This has disastrous impacts on our marine ecosystems and biodiversity, imperils livelihoods and undermines economic prosperity. Lost or abandoned fishing gear also represent a threat to marine species. It has been estimated that ghost nets represent 10 percent of all marine litter worldwide.

The importance addressing the issue of unsustainable fishing practices has been recognized by the UN and is reflected in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which strives to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Regulating fisheries can help reduce economically damaging and unfair fisheries practices, while helping to restore productive fisheries resources, healthy marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

MAP & GFCM are working together in order to bring these issues to the fore. At the Fish Forum 2018, two workshops and a side-event are organized to discuss relationships and best practices between fisheries and (1) Marine Protected Areas, (2) Marine litter and (3) the Ecosystem Approach. 

Workshop 1: Complementarities between Marine Protected Areas and fisheries spatial measures

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the most important effective area-based conservation measures having a potential to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the marine and coastal Mediterranean biodiversity. The SDG Target 14.5 is to conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. Today, protected areas cover only 8.9 per cent of the total Mediterranean area, and 5.3 per cent of the total global ocean area. 

Click here to see a detailed map of the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas in 2016.

Among other, the workshop aims to identify the strongest complementarities between MPAs and fisheries spatial measures for area-based management, and ways to increase the implementation of stricter measures for certain marine areas.

Workshop 2: Prevention and reduction of marine litter from fisheries and aquaculture

Marine litter extends to every ocean and coast and causes enormous economic damage and social impact. Within the fisheries context, two types of marine litter are of particular concern: abandoned or lost fishing gear and microplastics.

The aim of the workshop is to highlight solutions and practical approaches and potential collaborative opportunities between GFCM and partner organizations. Experts will discuss best practices:

  • to increase the recycling of non-in use fishing and aquaculture gear (ghost-nets, fishing lines and ropes);
  • to reduce the amounts of abandoned, lost and/or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG);
  • to remove fishing and aquaculture gear/plastics in an environmentally-sound manner;
  • to showcase potential impacts of microplastics and other forms of plastic on the marine environment, and the role of fisheries and other stakeholders in monitoring and mitigating these risks;
  • to raise awareness, enhance stakeholder dialogue and the role of the consumer.

Side-event: Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach at the Regional Level to achieve SDG 14

The protection of our oceans, seas and coasts is not only important to preserve the environment but also to support livelihoods and responsible development. The application of the ecosystem approach at regional level through specific legal and management tools is key for the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources.

The side-event aims to share the best available practices and lessons learnt during the past decade to implement the ecosystem approach at the regional level. It will focus on:

  • Regional Ocean Governance, which is key for the achievement of SDG 14;
  • MAP and GFCM cooperation in support of sustainable management of marine and coastal environment, with a focus on spatial-based management measures;
  • Relevance of this cooperation and its outcome on spatial-based management and sustainable development in the Mediterranean;
  • Importance of science-based measures for the implementation of MAP Ecosystem Approach and GFCM mid-term strategy.

Mr. Gaetano Leone, UN Environment / MAP Coordinator at Fish Forum 2018



Date of Article: 
Friday, December 7, 2018