Cooperation between environmental and fisheries organizations is a prerequisite for SDG14


The Mediterranean is one of the most overfished region in the world, with disastrous impacts on our marine ecosystems and biodiversity, imperiling livelihoods and economic prosperity. On 22-23 October, Gaetano Leone, MAP’s coordinator, participated in the 42 Session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) organized in Rome. He highlighted here ongoing cooperation efforts, aiming to achieve SDG14 in a coordinated manner, in line with the Memorandum of Understanding between GFCM and MAP.

The Mediterranean and Black Sea have the highest percentage of unsustainable fish stocks

The total landings in the Mediterranean and Black Sea reached a maximum of about 2 million tonnes in the mid-1980s, then declined to a low of 1.1 million tonnes in 2014 and showed a slight recovery to 1.3 million tonnes in 2015.

The Mediterranean and Black Sea have the highest percentage (62.2 percent) of unsustainable stocks according to FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018.

SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development


The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the 2030 Agenda commits UN Member States “to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. This includes fighting against harmful fishery practices by 2020.

A sustainable management of fisheries will help to restore productive fisheries resources, healthy marine ecosystems and biodiversity.


A strong cooperation between GFCM and MAP in the Mediterranean

In the Mediterranean area, GFCM and MAP signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 and have been working closely together since then.

“Cooperation between environmental and fisheries experts and organizations is a prerequisite for the achievement of SDG14” declared Gaetano Leone, MAP Coordinator, at the 42 Session of GFCM organized in Rome on 22-23 October. The health of marine and coastal ecosystems is a prerequisite for sustainable fisheries, while sustainable fisheries and sustainable management of the fish stocks can contribute to good environmental status of the oceans and seas.

42 Session of GFCM organized in Rome on 22-23 October. Copyright GFCM.

GFCM and MAP collaboration has already achieved results, including:

  • integration of environmental concerns in relation to fisheries and aquaculture;
  • harmonization of existing criteria for identifying Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance and Fisheries Restricted Areas;
  • the development of strategies and action plans to enhance cross-sectoral approaches to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity;
  • the development of the 2017 Mediterranean Quality Status Report by MAP, in which GFCM had a leading role in the development of the fisheries related part;
  • the joint implementation of a sub-Regional Pilot Study in the Eastern Mediterranean on Non-Indigenous Fish Species that resulted in a sub-regional monitoring plan, in line with MAP Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme and with the GFCM Data Collection Reference Framework.

Further collaboration planned on marine litter

Management of marine litter in Mediterranean is a priority in line with both MAP and GFCM Mid-Term Strategies. The two organization are planning to work further together to reduce and mitigate the effects of marine litter on marine ecosystems and fisheries.

In this regard, GFCM contribution to MAP-led Regional Platform on Marine Litter management in the Mediterranean continues to be crucial. A Marine Litter Workshop is also planned at the 2018 GFCM Fish Forum, where MAP and GFCM will share experience on marine litter management, building on the best practice of the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management for the Mediterranean.


Date of Article: 
Tuesday, October 23, 2018