EU and Neighbourhood countries commit to enhanced fisheries management control in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

Among the main measures, the EU and neighbouring countries agreed within the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) to launch new tools to keep track of the activities of all fleets fishing in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas and sharing the various multiannual management plans (MAPs). The new mechanism will follow up on cases of non-compliance through appropriate and proportionate measures. To consolidate joint efforts in the Mediterranean and make sure the measures deliver on the ground, a European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) patrol vessel will be deployed permanently still this year.

At the 46th annual meeting of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), which took place between 6-10 November in Split, the EU and neighbouring countries agreed to reinforce the level playing field in control and management of fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. This is a key step in ensuring that all operators involved in fisheries follow the same standards, based on the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Thanks to the efforts of the EU and more than 12 other coastal states, the GFCM unanimously adopted a total of 34 shared measures. The EU will support the implementation of the measures and the GFCM 2030 Strategy with an annual grant of €8 million.

Measures for increased sustainability and biodiversity protection

The measures agreed at the GFCM meeting will bring about the following positive impacts in the Mediterranean and Black Sea: 

  • More sustainability through traceability: The traceability of fisheries products is essential to fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) practices. New catch documentation schemes for red coral in the Mediterranean and for turbot in the Black Sea will help to identify the origin of fish products, ensuring better conservation of these iconic species.
  • Decarbonisation as an answer to energy crises and pollution: the GFCM will be the first regional fisheries management organisation to establish a permanent working group and to adopt a roadmap for the decarbonisation of fishing activities. This working group will identify actions to promote a more resilient sector against energy crises, a reduction of the carbon footprint and studies to assess the impact of the fishing gear on the seabed.
  • Sustainable management of common dolphinfish through a new multiannual plan: The GFCM approved a new multiannual management plan (MAP) for common dolphinfish in the Mediterranean Sea. The MAP is based on a joint EU-Tunisia proposal, the main players in this fishery. The goal of the MAP and the associated inspection scheme is to maintain this iconic species with high commercial value at sustainably managed levels.
  • Protection of sensitive species and marine habitats: Following the EU’s lead, the GFCM adopted a strategy to protect vulnerable species and launched an Observatory for non-indigenous species. The fisheries organisation started pilot studies to assess the potential extension of the bottom trawling ban to waters closer to the surface, down to 800 metres.

The GFCM also consolidated the existing measures under the multiannual management plan for European eel. Long-term measures will be determined next year, based on the results of a regional research program.

Keeping the measures of previous years, the GFCM decided to reinforce the fisheries restricted area (FRA) in the Gulf of Lion. EU, Morocco and Algeria also agreed to implement a FRA in the Cabliers Mound.

Next steps

The Council of the European Union will discuss and establish the GFCM’s fishing opportunities-related measures for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in a meeting taking place on 11 and 12 December.


The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is a regional fisheries management organisation established under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It plays a critical role in fisheries governance and has the authority to make binding recommendations for fisheries conservation and management and for aquaculture development. Its membership comprises the EU, 19 Mediterranean states and three Black Sea states.

With the political commitment and close cooperation of all parties and stakeholders, and with the EU taking a lead role, the organisation is actively working to strengthen the new fisheries governance established with the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Ministerial Declarations, to reverse overfishing, ensure the protection of marine ecosystems and the resilience and profitability of the fishing and aquaculture sector. All decisions and achievements are based on the renewed commitments of the MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration.

For More Information

GFCM 2030 Strategy | General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean – GFCM | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

Management plans | General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean – GFCM | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

screenshot cover report with young girl and a man at the controls of a machine

CLUSTER Policy Report – Blue economy as an opportunity for enhancing youth and women’s employment in the Mediterranean


Source: enicbcmed website

In a move towards addressing youth unemployment, the CLUSTER project published its policy report focusing on the Blue Economy (BE) in the Mediterranean. The report underscores the pivotal role of sustainable ocean resource management in creating employment opportunities, particularly for the youth and women in the region. These are its key findings:

  1. Youth Employment Potential: With over a million BE-related jobs available in the Mediterranean, the sector, encompassing Blue Growth and Blue Tech, emerges as a promising avenue for youth employment. Aquaculture, fisheries, and tourism are identified as key sectors.
  2. Barriers to Growth: The report outlines financing and skills development as major hurdles to the sector’s expansion.
  3. Career Opportunities: Diverse career opportunities within the Blue Economy are presented, emphasizing the encouraging outlook for youth employment.
  4. Gender Disparities: Despite women playing pivotal roles in certain blue sectors, gender disparities persist, especially in maritime fields.

The policy report advocates for an action plan targeting regional policymakers to implement inclusive youth employment schemes in the Blue Economy sectors. Key strategies include substantial investment in blue careers and skills, leveraging European funding programs, and adapting learning schemes to modern needs.

Read the full report here.

COP28: European Commission commits €1 million to Blue Mediterranean Partnership

On Saturday 2 December, at the Blue Mediterranean Partnership’s pledging conference, the European Commission committed to pledge €1 million to the recently established Blue Mediterranean Partnership.

This collaborative initiative is designed to catalyse sustainable blue economy investments in the non-EU countries of the Mediterranean region, with a focus on the Southern Neighbourhood. It is spearheaded by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the EU, through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The partnership’s priority areas include plastic waste reduction, coastal resilience investments, sustainable tourism, wastewater treatment, circular economy, and marine biodiversity.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries emphasised the importance of financial commitments, stating

Political commitment is one thing, but financial commitment takes things to another level, because we need investments to develop the economy, especially if we want to make sure that all sectors and activities develop sustainably, so that our seas and ocean can keep providing for future generations.”

The Blue Mediterranean Partnership aims at obtaining new financial resources fromsovereigndonors, channelled through a new multi-donor fund,administered by EBRD, bringing together:

–  key implementing partners such as the European Commission and its financial institutions (EBRD and EIB), UfM, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti


beneficiary countries (Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco) and

donors (European Commission, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

, AFD).

Its primary objective is to tackle the threats faced by the Mediterranean Sea by coordinating the financing of sustainable blue economy projects located in the Mediterranean and Red Sea region, focusing initially on Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.

At the pledging conference, donors, including the European Commission, made formal statements and announced their respective pledges, with the European Commission contributing

In the next months, announcements of additional donations are anticipated from Germany and Spain, with additional donors to follow.

More Information

Blue Mediterranean Partnership steps up support for sustainable blue economy (

2nd UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (2021)

Communication on a new approach to a sustainable blue economy

Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – A new agenda for the Mediterranean

UfM Blue Finance Conference



Source: DG MARE website

announcement poster EMD 2024

Call for workshops for the European Maritime Days 2024

The Call for workshops for the EMD 2024 in Svendborg Denmark,  is now open!

The European Maritime Day (EMD) is the annual two-day event during which Europe’s maritime community meet to network, discuss and outline joint action on maritime affairs and sustainable blue economy.

Stakeholder workshops are at the core of the conference. Each workshop lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Workshop organisers design and manage their own workshop.

For the EMD 2024, 18 high-quality workshops will be selected (with several workshops running in parallel).

All that is necessary is to fill in this form and submit your online application before 8 December 2023 at 17:00 CET.

The EMD is the place where ‘Ocean Leaders Meet’. It provides an engaging and completely interactive experience to catch up on the current state of play on a broad range of issues concerning the blue economy and the marine environment and to discuss ways of moving forward. It features a large number of inspirational speakers, thematic sessions, stakeholder workshops and pitch sessions organised by stakeholders and the European Commission. The EMD targets professionals from businesses, governments, public institutions, NGOs and academia as well as EU citizens interested in the sea.

European Maritime Day 2024 will take place in Svendborg, Denmark on 30 and 31 May 2024.

For more information, visit the EMD event website

fishing boat-trawler with seagulls

Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2024 in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

Today, the Commission adopted its proposal for fishing opportunities for 2024 for the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. The proposal promotes the sustainable management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas and delivers on the political commitments made in the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations.

The Commission proposes to use the same tools that were introduced in the 2022 and 2023 fishing opportunities, based on the latest available scientific advice. These tools include fishing effort for trawlers and longliners as well as catch limits for deep-water shrimps. These measures were established under the Western Mediterranean multiannual management plan (MAP) for demersal stocks, with the aim of reaching by 1 January 2025 at the latest the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), i.e., the maximum amount of fish that fishers can take out of the sea without compromising the regeneration and future productivity of the stock.

Most fishing opportunities will be proposed at a later stage, based on the results of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) annual session (6-10 November 2023) and the scientific advice for demersal stocks covered by the Western Mediterranean Multiannual Management Plan (MAP), which is expected towards the end of October.

In the Mediterranean Sea, the proposal keeps unchanged measures for red coral. For blackspot seabream and deep-water shrimps this year’s proposal continues a gradual reduction in catches for both species, in line with the newly agreed GFCM management plans from 2022. The proposal for common dolphinfish and other stocks with GFCM transitional measures that expire at the end of 2023 will be updated after the 2023 GFCM annual session.

Read the full press release on the EC website with additional information

MedFish4Ever rollups for the conference

Mediterranean fisheries and aquaculture: outcomes of GFCM high-level conference on MedFish4Ever initiatives

This week, the European Commission and 20 EU and Mediterranean states renewed their commitments to deliver on their sustainability pledges made in the MedFish4Ever Declaration.

The 2017 MedFish4Ever Declaration has been a cornerstone in regional fisheries governance, catalysing action to build a regulatory framework for sustainable management and development.

Six years down the road, Mediterranean states met again in Malta to review progress and renew their commitment to live up to the promises of the Declaration, while looking into the future challenges that this region is facing in pursuing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Special adviser to Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, speaking on behalf of Commissioner Sinkevičius, set the tone:

“Halfway through the 10-year roadmap, we can say with confidence that MedFish4Ever has changed the way we manage our fisheries in the Mediterranean! Forever and for the better!”

Renewed commitments on key priorities

The parties confirmed their renewed commitments to reinforce efforts in reaching these objectives:

  • protecting marine resources
  • combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing
  • strengthening the viability of coastal communities through the support to the small-scale fisheries prevailing in the region
  • ensuring decent working conditions and social protection of fishers
  • making fisheries more attractive to the young generation and giving equal recognition of the work of women
  • building sustainable aquaculture and strengthening the value chain.

Special adviser to Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, speaking on behalf of Commissioner Sinkevičius, reiterated the commitment of the EU to the goals of MedFish4Ever Declaration:

“Today, the GFCM stands stronger than ever. We have built a robust framework with the 2030 Strategy and its action plan. Now we need to continue showing political will to fully implement our commitments.The EU’s commitment to deliver on MedFish4Ever and the GFCM 2030 Strategy remains unabated, now and for the future!

It is up to us to create a resilient future for our local communities, to restore and to protect the stocks and marine ecosystems, and to create a sustainable and a dignified working environment for generations to come – the future they all deserve.”

Financing a sustainable future

All these commitments will require additional resources, as well as keeping up the exemplary cooperation and partnership among all the countries and among all the stakeholders in the region.

The European Union, as main donor for the implementation of the MedFish4Ever Declaration, reconfirmed its financial support through the dedicated GFCM Grant of €8 million, calling upon new donors to join.

Rewarding innovative practices in fisheries and aquaculture

6 projects were awarded for their work:

Innovation in fishing technology category:

  • Reinforced seine as a mitigation measure against depredation by bottlenose dolphins by the National Institute for Fisheries Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, Morocco
  • Assessment of the carbon footprint of the fishing fleet and application of decarbonization measures by the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Croatia

Innovative practices in aquaculture research category:

  • Larvae counting system by AquaDeep, Tunisia
  • Innovative salt water aquaponic system by the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, Spain

Innovative practices in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing category:

  • Use of remote electronic monitoring, including closed-circuit television technology, as a control and monitoring tool by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, Cyprus
  • Remote sensing data shedding light on the Mediterranean fishing footprint, by the Global Fishing Watch


Read the full press release on the EC website with additional information

conference room with people watching at presentaion of blue strategy proposal for the Valencian community in Spain 20 oct 2023

Blue Strategy Proposal for the Valencian Community in Spain

Press release: Cátedra de Economía Azul,

On October 20, 2023, the presentation of the Blue Strategy Proposal of the Valencian Community took place, at The Ocean Race Museum in the Port of Alicante, organized by the Càtedra Interuniversitària d’Economia Blava-UA- UMH-Generalitat Valenciana.

The event has had the notable presence of numerous authorities, including the Hon. Mayor of Alicante, Luís Barcala; the Magnificent Rector of the University of Alicante, Amparo Navarro; the General Director of Economy, José Vicente Todolí; the General Director of Coasts, Ports and Airports, Vicente Martínez Mus; and the Autonomous Secretary of Innovation, Jerónimo Mora, among other distinguished positions.

At the opening of the event, the Hon. Mayor of Alicante shared his vision of the maritime vocation of the city and its port, highlighting them as essential elements of Alicante. Furthermore, he committed to collaborating with all sectors with the aim of promoting this maritime capital.

The Rector of the University of Alicante highlighted the preparation of the UA in areas such as marine sciences, biology, geography and tourism, among other degrees and postgraduate degrees. He highlighted the university’s commitment to the Chair of Blue Economy and its willingness to work together with the Public Administration to establish the research bodies necessary for the development of the Blue Economy in the Valencian Community, in collaboration with other universities, including the University Miguel Hernández (UMH).

Succesful blue strategies in the Mediterranean and the EU
Subsequently, Marta Pascual, head of the WestMed Spain Hub, urged the Valencian authorities to bet on the blue economy, in line with the projects and funds of the European Union. She highlighted that this is a crucial moment for the Valencian Community to develop a Blue Strategy, highlighting the successful results of blue strategies in the Mediterranean and the importance of the Valencian Community joining this dynamic.

For his part, the director of the Càtedra d’Economia Blava, Fernando de Rojas, emphasized that the Proposal presented is the first step towards a more detailed and specific strategy, being a basic document. This Strategy Proposal would place us one step away from the officialization of a Valencian Blue Strategy, from which we have grown so far. This document covers various sectors, such as nautical, fishing, aquaculture, coastal tourism, marine energy, blue biotechnology, ports, coasts, public works and maritime transport. De Rojas highlighted the current relevance of the Blue Economy in the Valencian Community and the importance of working on a transversal strategy that involves all sectors, putting the region at the same level as other autonomous communities and Europe. Furthermore, he expressed the commitment of universities to be centers of research, promotion and dialogue with the companies and sectors involved, making themselves available to the Generalitat Valenciana for this joint effort.

Valencian Blue economy webportal
In the context of this event, the launch of a comprehensive web portal dedicated to the blue economy of the Valencian Community was announced. This portal, which will be available soon, will serve as a central platform to explore and gain insight into the blue economy sector in the region.

Representatives of civil society were also present at the event, including the president of the Chamber of Commerce and various associations of sectors involved such as ANEN, UEN, National Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds, ACNCV, APROMAR, ATEIA-OLTRA Alicante and the Association of Containers Port Alicante. Likewise, there was a notable presence from the academic sector and key companies in areas such as maritime public works, maritime transport, customs, as well as the Business Confederation of the Valencian Community (CEV), represented by its secretary, Ana Gosálvez.

Finally, the significant weight of maritime transport in the Valencian Community and the driving companies in the sector, such as Balearia, JSV, Boluda, among others, were highlighted, emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of this vital impulse not only for the region, but also for all Europe.



group photo of people celebrating launch of EMFAF projects 2023

New EMFAF Regional flagship projects just kicked off their work!

Source: CINEA website

The EMFAF Regional flagships call, with a budget of EUR 7.6 million, focused on EU sea basins cooperation; in particular the Atlantic, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea Region and the EU Outermost Regions. Ten new projects just kicked off.

Four projects are related to the Mediterranean: Green Marine Med, POWER4MED, CALLMEBLUE and the GreenMED. The first three projects received active assistance from the WestMED Assistance Mechanism in the application process.

GREEN MARINE MED  – Mediterranean Green Shipping Network: Linking Ports, Industries, Investment and Innovation for Monitoring and Technology Foresight on Green Shipping in the Mediterranean

GREEN MARINE MED will bring together, engage and mobilise the comprehensive Mediterranean Green Shipping stakeholder community, representing the full value chain including actors from the full vessel community, ports and marinas, fuel and energy, as well as finance, investment, innovation and other stakeholders. The comprehensive Network will create the foundation to enable the most broadly supported and useful Monitoring and Technology Foresight on Mediterranean Green Shipping.

Duration: 24 months – EU contribution: EUR 932 469.91


GreenMED – Green Shipping Pathways Towards a Clean Energy Transition in the Mediterranean

GreenMED is a regionally oriented project aiming to effectively support green shipping efforts in the Mediterranean Sea basin, by promoting plausible scenario-based decarbonisation pathways. The GreenMED’s ambition is to contribute directly and actively to the emission targets established by the EU under the 2030 and 2050 milestones. This goal´s realization relies on the comprehension and integration of innovative technologies, taking into consideration the regional ship energy demands, the fuel supply chains in both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and the variety of emerging green shipping technologies, leading to the establishment of a decarbonisation hub: the Mediterranean Sustainable Shipping Observatory (MSSO).

Duration : 24 months – EU contribution: EUR 740 868

POWER4MED – local emPOWERment of fuel transition FOR a green MEDiterranean

Transition toward carbon neutrality in maritime transport requires short & medium-term solutions, the former based on transition fuels (LNG), the latter on not yet fully available alternative fuels (green hydrogen, methanol, electricity & wind). Dealing with such complexity is difficult for the operators of smaller ships and POWER4MED has the ambition to support them by developing the POWER4MED Supporting Structure, a “Supporting Team” of multidisciplinary experts and a set of toolkits facilitating the path toward carbon neutrality of the 3 sectors targeted by the project: fishing boats, commercial vessels and marinas.

Duration: 18 months – EU contribution: EUR 638 435


CALLMEBLUE aims to strengthen existing maritime clusters alliances in the Mediterranean area in order to accelerate north-south regional cooperation processes towards the emerging of strategic maritime clusters in North Africa area (south-south cooperation). The project will aim to create a strategic vision and transferable models of interregional cooperation, by implementing concrete actions at both local and regional level in order to raise awareness on the relevance of Maritime clusters as key actors for sustainable blue economy policies such as promoting exchange of best practices and knowledge transfer between north and southern area.

Duration: 24 months – EU contribution: EUR 780 987.86

Read the full article with the other projects on the CINEA website

people on stage during WestMED desalination event 2023 at the BluePlanet expoforum

WestMED National Hub Italy organises succesful desalination event at the BluePlanet Economy Forum 2023

On 11 October 2023 WestMED’s Italian National Hub organised a highly succesful event on desalination together with BIG (Blue Italian Growth) and Federazione del Mare at the BluePlanet Economy Forum 2023 in Rome.

The focus was on the urgency and importance of desalination in the Mediterranean with a specific focus on the Italian supply chain.

Leonardo was interviewed at the event by the television station Teleambiente. You can watch the recording below (YouTube) – starting at 2:05

screenshot television interview Leonardo Manzari at the BluePlanet Economy expoforum



Joint Italian-Maltese WestMED national event in Catania boosts blue opportunities in the Mediterranean

For the first time since the launch of the WestMED Initiative and the set-up of the Westmed Technical Assistance Mechanism, a joint national event was coordinated by the Italian and Maltese National Hubs, in Catania on Oct 4-6 2023.

Substantial support
This event was also made possible through the support by the respective National Coordinators, the decisive contribution of the Region Sicily-Dept of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fishery, the Italian national clusters Federazione del Mare and CTN BIG.

With Malta and Italy both centrally located in the Mediterranean, these countries play a pivotal role in strengthening exchanges as well as synergies across the seabasin, particularly towards the Southern Shore countries.

Therefore Sicily, home of the Managing Authority of INTERREG Italy-Malta and INTERREG NEXT Italie-Tunisie, and Catania in particular (with its rich ecosystem of high tech companies, university and research centers) was  the natural place to exploit the potential of a North-South event with representatives attending from Italy, Malta, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia.

Istituto Nazionale Fisica Nucleare– Laboratori Nazionali del Sud
The event took place at Istituto Nazionale Fisica Nucleare – Laboratori Nazionali del Sud, which is a branch of the largest Italian research institution, located in Catania. The Institute has sought to valorise the opportunity offered by the WestMED in terms of networking and hosted the event on its premises. The Institute, strongly reaffirms the importance of internationalization and networking, with the national director general and INFN-LNS’s warmly welcoming all participants to the event.

The event also served to highlight the deep-sea research project currently being undertaken by the Institute (KM3NeT) and the application of this research to maritime fields. Participants also benefited from a guided tour of the INFN-LNS premises and visitor center.

Thematic sessions
Apart from the Opening Session on the 4th October, which was reserved for institutions and speakers, the following days of the event were dedicated to thematic sessions, building upon the outcomes of the technical and working groups of the WestMED, as well as the rising challenges experiences in this area of the Mediterranean. These thematic areas focused on:

  • Network of Ports and Infrastructures
  • Marine Renewables and Desalination,
  • Sustainable Fishery and related Biotech Supply Chains,
  • Oceanography-Geology-Marine Biology and Ecology
  • 2023 edition of MEDBLEUE was also discussed which included participation by CTN BIG, Maritime Tunisien and the Malta Maritime Forum.

Furthermore, the availability of EU funds, particularly the INTERREG ones, were discussed, with the Managing Authorities of Italy, Malta and Tunisia present. Presentations were delivered on the respective programmes from the Managing Authorities of EU Funding Programmes and from the Italian Agency for Cooperation Development AICS.

Many project ideas
The event also gave the opportunity to experienced entrepreneurs and researchers to present their project ideas to potential project partners.

Worth noting is the identification of project ideas stemming from Transport Malta, Port Authority of Northern Tyrrenean, INSTM Tunisia, Mauritanian Marine Cluster, SWAP-TOX project, DuWo srl and Le Vie dei Tesori, Signo Motus who are actively seeking partners and funding opportunities for their project proposals.

Forty participants took part in-person on October 4,  50 on October 5 and  30 on October 6. Between 15 to 30 participants joined remotely online each day.

Finally, the event marked the interest of INFN-LNS to join WestMED activities with the support of the WestMED’s Italian National Hub.

More information
Leonardo Mazari, National Hub Italy  |  Stephanie Vella, National Hub Malta

Press articles: La Sicilia and Catania Metropolitana


General manager Region Sicily Department of Fisheries  Libyan WestMED National Coordinator Masauda Abuarosha

overview conference room with presenter during WestMED joint Italy Malta 2023 national event in Catania Sicily

National WestMED coordinators Italy and Malta

Visit at the INFN-LNS visitor Center, guided by Prof Giacomo Cuttone and Prof Piera Sapienza