Introduction

The sub-regional project “Scientific and Institutional Cooperation to Support Responsible Fisheries in the Eastern Mediterranean- EastMed” is a partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Rural Development and Food of Greece, the Ministry of Agriculture- Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF) of Italy, the EU Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE), and the countries with waters included in the GFCM Geographical Sub-Areas (GSAs) 19-20 and 22-28. The Project executed by FAO and funded by Greece, Italy and DG-Mare, will support the development of regionally-consistent fisheries management plans among the Eastern Mediterranean countries. It is planned to run for five years, at an estimated total cost of USD 4.8 million. The project is operational since September 2009. EastMed with the other members of the Mediterranean Projects “family” , such as AdriaMed, ArtFiMed, CopeMed, MedFisis, MedSudMed and Med-LME together form an integrated and coordinated whole, supporting the Mediterranean countries in achieving sustainable fisheries management in the region.

Most of the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean sub-region, due to various reasons including lack of financial resources, have been sidelined where international and regional cooperation for fishery research and management is concerned. The GFCM has repeatedly noted the under-representation of participants from the Eastern Mediterranean countries in its meetings. In some cases Fisheries is not nationally monitored, coordinated or managed. There are also important gaps in information in fishery statistics, stock assessment, fishery bio-economic assessment, marine ecosystems and especially in social and economic data.

Since the 24th GFCM session the necessity for a regional project to be developed in the Eastern Mediterranean was highlighted. During the Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Fisheries in the Mediterranean (Venice, November 2003), Italy and EC expressed their intension to support financially a project in the eastern part of the Mediterranean in order to support the strengthening of a Mediterranean-wide management framework. In 2004 the Government of Italy supported the formulation of the preparatory phase which was completed in 2006. During the 29th GFCM Session in February 2005, Greece announced the co-funding of the project and offered to host the project headquarters in Athens. The project document was circulated among the potentially participating countries and was also presented during a country meeting in Rome (June2006).

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EastMed

The project’s longer-term development objective aims at contributing to the sustainable management of marine fisheries in the Eastern Mediterranean, and thereby at supporting national economies and protecting the livelihoods of those involved in the fisheries sector. The project’s immediate objective aims at supporting and improving the capacity of national fishery departments to increase their scientific and technical information base for fisheries management and to develop coordinated and participative fisheries management plans in the Eastern Mediterranean sub-region.

In order to achieve its objectives, the project will work closely with the Fisheries Departments with which it will be in contact through the National Focal Points and it will function through the national Fisheries Directors. Its Coordination Committee will establish and support the Country Participatory WGs (CPWGs) for ensuring the stakeholders involvement and operate data collection programs on statistics and information, on Stock Assessment, on Marine Environment and Ecosystems, on Economics and Social Sciences.

The project includes 4 components:

  1. Institutional strengthening

  2. Staff training and Development

  3. Data Collection and Analysis

  4. Increased Participation and Cooperation.

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Project Component 1: Institutional Strengthening

This component will ensure that the Fisheries Departments of the Eastern Mediterranean countries have the institutional structure, financial capacity and technical competences necessary to undertake the fundamental elements of fisheries management, and can collect fishery statistics, perform fisheries assessments and characterize marine ecosystems.

The project will recruit an institutional consultant for a period of three months to provide assistance to the countries in analyzing the institutional framework of the fisheries departments and to identify existing weaknesses and gaps.

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Project Component 2: Staff Training and Development

This component will develop the capabilities of the national administrations staff. The project will offer on-the-job training, national and sub-regional workshops and opportunities for the fishery administration staff to participate in regional management meetings. The training will concern scientists and managers, field staff and technicians.

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Project Component 3: Data Collection and Analyses

By the end of the project, it is anticipated that each country will have fully functional data collection and processing programs and the required expertise in each of the following three disciplines:

Fishery data collection:

The program will contribute to temporary pilot activities whose aim is to set up a regular monitoring system based on:

  1. The recording of national fishing fleet characteristics as required, complementing the work undertaken trough the MedFisis project.

  2. The recording of commercial catch (or landing) data and fishing effort statistics, possibly completed with the relevant biological data.

  3. The recording of basic economic data such as fish prices, fuel, and other fixed and variable costs.

Fishery and stocks assessment data analysis

This sub-component primarily consists in organizing workshops designed for scientific and managerial staff familiar with the issues and techniques relevant to fisheries management and as used by the GFCM.

Two themes are foreseen:

  1. Fisheries and stocks assessment methods relevant to the Eastern Mediterranean sub-region.

  2. Preparation of sub-regionally consistent multi-disciplinary fisheries management strategies and options.

Characteristics and components of marine ecosystems

This sub-component incorporates the following additional issues:

  1. Identification of pelagic and demersal essential fish habitats, which are fundamental to the life cycle and production dynamics of the fishery resources.

  2. Increased knowledge of the bio-ecology and population dynamics of commercial fish species, also taking in consideration the Lessepsian (Red Sea immigrant) species.

Options will be investigated on the co-financing or for providing additional funds for the trawl surveys, which give fisheries-independent estimates of fish abundance.

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Project Component 4: Increased participation and Cooperation

This project component will support processes that encourage participation and cooperation within the wider context of fisheries management. To achieve this:

  1. The project will establish and support Country Participatory Working Groups (CPWGs) in each country to facilitate communication among all the relevant stakeholders involved in the fishery sector.

  2. The project will provide support when necessary and if appropriate to the Eastern Mediterranean countries. It will allow them to actively take part and contribute to the work of the GFCM SAC and of its subsidiary bodies.

  3. The project will promote sub-regional cooperation and collaboration for fishery research, monitoring and management, and use expertise to enable contributions and responses to global policies agendas.

 
 
FAO EastMed Project:  Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FI)
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy :: Room F-613. Tel +39 065705 5860 - Mob +39 320 2965208 - contact us:
©FAO-EASTMED,

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