Fortieth session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), St. Julian's, Malta, 30 May - 3 June 2016.
The fortieth session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean as well as the tenth session of the Compliance Committee and the seventh session of the Committee on Administration and Finance was attended by delegates of all 24 contracting parties, as well as delegates of the two cooperating non-contracting parties and two riparian non-contracting parties. Representatives from 15 intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations were also in attendance. It was the first time in the history of the Commission that full attendance was attained and all the Mediterranean and Black Sea riparian states were present together in a regular session. During the session, the Commission granted cooperating non-contracting party status to Bosnia and Herzegovina in light of its increasing involvement in GFCM activities and as a preliminary step towards full membership in due course. Moreover, within the framework of ongoing cooperation with partner organizations, a memorandum of understanding was signed with OceanCare. The Commission was encouraged to strengthen cooperation further, including by providing technical assistance to contracting parties and cooperating non-contracting parties. This technical assistance would underpin compliance and contribute to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. A total of seven binding recommendations on measures for the management of fisheries resources in both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea were adopted and dealt with: a regional scheme on port state measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities; the progressive implementation of data submission in line with the Data Collection Reference Framework; further emergency measures in 2017 and 2018 for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea; a multiannual management plan for the fisheries exploiting European hake and deep-water rose shrimp in the Strait of Sicily; a minimum conservation reference size for European hake in the Mediterranean Sea; scientific monitoring; management and control of turbot fisheries in the Black Sea and the use of remotely operated vehicles within the framework of national scientific research programmes on red coral. Furthermore, the Commission adopted three resolutions addressing issues such as small-scale fisheries, guidelines for drafting GFCM decisions and a mid-term strategy (2017-2020) towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries. In the field of aquaculture, the Commission acknowledged the first outcomes of the Task Force on a strategy for the sustainable development of Mediterranean and Black Sea aquaculture and agreed to progress in particular on shellfish farming, environmental monitoring and indicators to measure progress on aquaculture development. Finally, the Commission adopted its programme of work for the next intersession and approved its budget amounting to US$2 532 162 for 2017 as well as a number of strategic actions to be funded through extrabudgetary resources. It also unanimously endorsed the renewed Bureaus of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries and of the Working Group on the Black Sea for another two-year term.