The GFCM teams up with OceanCare to protect the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

February 22, 2022

The GFCM and OceanCare have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together towards the protection of the marine environment against pollution, in particular underwater noise pollution, the improvement of fisheries governance and the mitigation of the negative effects of climate change and the expansion of non-indigenous species.

Formal cooperation with key organizations on matters of common interest are essential for the successful implementation of the GFCM mandate and the exchange of best practices across the region. As such, the GFCM first started collaborating with OceanCare in 2016 to jointly address the impacts of underwater noise, bycatch and illegal fishing. With the signature of this new MoU, the GFCM and OceanCare are set to continue their collaboration until December 2025.

OceanCare has been committed to marine wildlife protection since 1989, through research and conservation projects, campaigns, environmental education, and involvement in a range of important international committees.

In the framework of the GFCM 2030 Strategy and the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031, the GFCM and its members will benefit from OceanCare’s expertise related to protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable marine ecosystems.

This collaboration will encourage the collection and analysis of data to produce evidence on marine pollution and climate change to support future decision-making for the sustainable management and conservation of marine ecosystems. In addition, OceanCare will launch awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of protecting the environment with selected national stakeholders, including fisheries associations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

«We are thrilled to renew the MoU and be an official partner of the GFCM, collaborating in a truly participatory way at eye-level to accelerate positive change for the marine environment in the area of application. The collaboration on the joint GFCM-OceanCare study on the potential effects of underwater noise on demersal fisheries in the Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) of Jabuka/Pomo Pit in the Adriatic Sea has been a particularly fruitful and rewarding experience, and we look forward to repeating such tangible outcomes in the future», says Fabienne McLellan, Managing Director at OceanCare.

«The quality of the data we produce with OceanCare is key to supporting the GFCM decision making process in relation to the protection of marine environment», says Miguel Bernal, GFCM Senior Fishery Officer. Indeed the conclusions of the Working Group on Ocean Noise Pollution, co-organized with OceanCare in 2019 were submitted and endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC). This joint GFCM-OceanCare workshop and cooperation were acknowledged by the UN General Assembly as a case to be replicated by other Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO).

«We look forward to continue collaborating with OceanCare towards the implementation of the GFCM countries common vision for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture: the GFCM 2030 Strategy.»