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A joint ACCOBAMS/GFCM approach to mitigate bycatch and depredation in the Mediterranean Sea
by Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS) (Intergovernmental organization)
The Permanent Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS), is committed to implement a regional project on mitigating bycatch and depredation by cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea, in coordination with the Secretariat of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), and in collaboration with the UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA (Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas). This regional project is funded by the MAVA Foundation.

The main objectives of this regional initiative are:
1) to enhance the conservation of cetaceans, sea turtles and seabirds, in particular by mitigating interactions with fisheries, considering both incidental catches and depredation issues;
2) to increase the awareness of national authorities, fishers and civil society and to demonstrate that economic incomes of fishers could be diversified through association of traditional fishing with ecotourism-oriented activities such as observation of wild marine fauna.

National institutions and NGOs implement eight pilot actions in selected fisheries of the Central and Western Mediterranean Sea (i.e. France, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria) aiming at identifying the nature of such interactions and at testing mitigations measures:
Purse seine sardine fisheries in the Moroccan Mediterranean, coordinated by INRH
Bluefin tuna artisanal fisheries in the Strait of Gibraltar, coordinated by INRH & IEO
Swordfish and albacore longline fisheries in southern Spain, coordinated by IEO
Bottom and surface longline fisheries in the Gulf of Gabs, coordinated by INSTM
Purse seine small pelagic fisheries in Kelibia, coordinated by INSTM
Longline and gillnet fisheries in southern France and the Balearic Islands, coordinated by CestMed and ALNITAK.
A preliminary study on the occurrence and extent of incidental catches of cetaceans and depredation events in Algerian fisheries is also being developed by CNRDPA.

The project also aims at supporting the development of sustainable ecotourism activities based on the link between traditional fishing and the sustainable observation of marine fauna preventing disruption and harassment of animals. This would place fishers in the role of responsible actors and "ambassadors" of the seas.

The project will also ensure wide dissemination, in the ACCOBAMS area, of results and lessons learnt and knowledge sharing on mitigating bycatch and depredation.
Progress reports
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
  • Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
April 2018
Closure workshop and presentation of the results
December 2017
Review of the mitigation measures and technics tested worldwide to mitigate by-catch and depredation
July 2017
Pilot projects on ecotourism/pescatourisme implemented
September 2015
Training workshop on technical measures to mitigate interactions of endangered species with fisheries and to reduce post-capture mortality
Financing (in USD)
700,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Local scientists, technical staff and ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat staff
Basic information
Time-frame: April 2015 - April 2018
- General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) - UNEP/MAP-Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas (UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA) - ALNITAK Marine Research and Education center (NGO) - Centre dEtudes et de Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines de Mditerrane CestMed (NGO) - Centre National de Recherche et de Dveloppement de la Pche et de l'Aquaculture CNRDPA (Government) - Instituto Espaol de Oceanografa IEO (Government) - Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer - INSTM (Government) - Institut National de Recherche Halieutique INRH (Government)
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Scientists, National stakeholders, Local fisheries, Whale Watching tourism stakeholders, International Organizations addressing biodiversity and/or marine resources conservation.
Contact information
Susana SALVADOR, Executive Secretary, accobams@accobams.net, +377 98 98 20 78
Monaco, Principality of Monaco
Other SDGs
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