Mediterranean fisheries

Note: see the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean.

The main characteristics of Mediterranean fisheries activities are:

  • High level of consumption. About 1.2 to 1.3 million tons of fish are caught in the Mediterranean and about 3 million tons are consumed annually.
  • Very high average prices, which are several times higher than the world average (seafood is almost exclusively consumed fresh, massive influx of tourists).
  • Important social impact, particularly as compared to the North Atlantic coast, since the artisanal sector is highly developed and plays an important role in fishing production.
  • A serious problem of overfishing, particularly as regards demersal resources.

There are also ecological aspects, which in addition to those of every semi-enclosed sea, make the Mediterranean a fragile and particularly vulnerable ecosystem. The following aspects are stressed:

  • The high biodiversity of the Mediterranean (the great variety of species). The impact of certain fishing activities, mariculture, and the invasion of tropical species could also affect this biodiversity.
  • Its high rate of endemism (an important number of species that are only found in its waters)
  • Increasing levels of contamination along the coast: wastes (500 million MT per year), heavy metals (7,500 MT per year) and agro-chemical and industrial pollutants (200,000 MT of chemicals per year and up to 1 million MT per year of crude oil from accidental spills and supertankers.).

All these economic, social, biological and environmental considerations clearly indicate the need to develop joint, co-ordinated and rational management of the Mediterranean Sea, involving fisheries administrations as well as environmental administrations, through adequate co-ordination.

In the meantime, there has been a series of international fisheries agreements in the 1990s which seem to clearly indicate a greater degree of political awareness among the fisheries administrations to face the ever-increasing problems of over-fishing.

Such agreements are mainly:

  • the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
  • the agreement to apply technical measures to vessels that operate on high seas;
  • the United Nations Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

In addition, for the Mediterranean only, two Diplomatic Conferences on Fisheries Management in the Mediterranean were held (Crete, December 1994 and Venice, November 1996), supported, in the interim, by the Euromediterranean Conference of Barcelona (November 1995), whose solemn declaration points out that:

  • An effective regional co-operation among the parties must be promoted at the highest level.
  • The objective of this co-operation, concerning either the resources, the environment and legal principles enforcement, will be the effective starting of a harmonised system for the preservation and management of fisheries resources in the Mediterranean. This co-operation will have to be based on the best scientific information available and on the most profitable usage, so that rational exploitation and high-level preservation of fisheries resources in the Mediterranean are assured under the most advantageous conditions, favouring particularly the coastal countries.

Spain is a country in which a sustainable fishing, supported by the best scientific knowledge available, is of considerable economic and, especially, social importance. In addition to that, Spain, through the Agencia Española para la Cooperación Internacional [AECI, Spanish Bureau for International Co-operation] has committed itself to enhance international co-operation, with special emphasis on developing countries, and has decided to create a trust fund in FAO to put this project into effect. This project is due to last 5 years and aims to attain these objectives, which are undoubtedly shared by all countries.

Disputed Fisheries: International Incident

In the book “International Incidents for Discussion in Conversation Classes”, in relation to this subject, L. Oppenheim wrote in 1909: An island rises in the open sea three and a half miles from the shore of state A and is acquired through occupation by state B, which establishes a fishing-station there. Very soon a conflict arises between states A and B on account of the fisheries in the waters between the new-born island and the continent.

How is the controversy to be settled?

Literature Review on (Environmental Policy) Fisheries Management

In the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, [1] Frank Alcock offers the following summary about the topic of (Environmental Policy) Fisheries Management: The purpose of this entry is to provide a concise but broad overview of fisheries management. After providing an overview of the need for fisheries management, the entry proceeds with discussions of objectives, tools, fisheries production and subsectors, governance-scale issues, and a concise historical summary. The entry concludes with a short prognosis for the future.

Protection of Marine Environment and Marine Conservation

In relation to the international law practice and protection of marine environment and marine conservation in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Environment and Other Transnational Scientific Issues

About this subject:

Arctic Council

Note: there is detailed information and resources under these topics during the year 2013, covered by this entry on protection of marine environment and marine conservation in this law Encyclopedia.

Fisheries (fishery) Zone

Embracing mainstream international law, this section on fisheries (fishery) zone explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.


Further Reading

  • The entry “fisheries (fishery) zone” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press


Notes and References

  1. Entry about (Environmental Policy) Fisheries Management in the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy (2015, Routledge, Oxford, United Kingdom)

See Also

Further Reading

  • Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance (2018, Springer International Publishing, Germany)

Hierarchical Display of Fisheries

Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries


Concept of Fisheries

See the dictionary definition of Fisheries.

Characteristics of Fisheries

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Translation of Fisheries

Thesaurus of Fisheries

Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Fisheries

See also

  • Economist
  • Economics science researcher
  • Economics analyst
  • Business economist