Overfishing falls in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, but fisheries resources remain under significant stress
Rome – Overfishing in the Mediterranean and Black Sea has fallen significantly in the past decade, but exploitation of most commercial species is far from sustainable, according to a report by the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The latest edition of The State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries (SoMFi) found excessive exploitation has diminished in the region, particularly for key species subject to multilateral management plans. However, 73 percent of commercial species are still overfished and fishing pressure, while lower than in the past, is still double than what is considered sustainable.
Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea generate an annual revenue of $2.9 billion and generates an estimated half a million jobs throughout the value chain. An average 1 in every 1 000 coastal residents in the region is a fisher, and in some coastal areas that number can be up to 10 times higher.
However, the workforce is ageing. In 2020, more than half of all crew were over the age of 40, while only 10 percent were under the age of 25. According to the latest data in SoMFi this trend is worsening.
Small-scale fisheries accounts for 82 percent of the vessels and 59 percent of the jobs. It also employs the highest number of young people, but small-scale fishers earn typically less than half the wage earned by fishers on industrial fleets.