Central Science in Fish Forum 2024

Central Science in Fish Forum 2024

The Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries Science Forum (FISH Forum 2024) was held last week in Antalya, Turkey. Efficient and sustainable fisheries management was central during the second edition of this scientific conference.

The Fish Forum 2024, organized by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is the premier scientific meeting for fisheries in the region. This five-day conference was attended by over 400 participants and packed with lectures, panel discussions, workshops and exhibitions. Experts from 47 countries discussed the latest developments in fisheries science, environmental, oceanographic and socio-economic research, and their application to current challenges in the sector.

Scientific fishing solutions

“The General Fisheries Authority of the Mediterranean takes its decisions based on scientific consultation with stakeholders,” said Miguel Bernal, Executive Secretary of the General Fisheries Authority of the Mediterranean. He added: “This year’s forum focused on the scientific needs for future management plans. Scientists discussed the latest methods and results, while high-level representatives addressed important issues. For example, how the interaction between science and policy can be enhanced, new international agreements and cooperation and coordination between research institutes can be addressed.

In the Mediterranean region there is a combination of demand for seafood, human pressure and fragility of ecosystems. This requires particularly robust and integrated science to support effective and environmentally, socially and economically sustainable management measures. The scientific outcomes of the conference are also relevant and useful to fisheries around the world. The United Nations has recognized the Fish Forum's contribution to the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

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Conference topics

Three topics were central during the conference. These are improving science for better advice, healthy seas, sustainable fishing, and economic and technical innovation. An important topic here was climate change. This is happening all over the world, certainly in the Mediterranean region, where temperatures are rising 20% ​​faster than the global average. Many speakers discussed important aspects of the topic. Topics included improving knowledge of the impacts of ocean warming on regional fisheries and possible adaptation strategies available. An important step to this end has been taken, namely the establishment of a network of climate experts focusing on fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Regional Research Network

In addition, participants agreed to establish a collaborative regional network of fisheries research institutes. They discussed process design. The aim of this collaboration is to increase capabilities and improve research results. In the coming years, fisheries experts will need to adapt scientific methods in response to new policy requirements and work together to implement international agreements and stimulate innovation.

Sustainable fishing

“Sustainable fishing is not only an economic responsibility, but also a social and environmental responsibility. We must leave a healthy and rich marine heritage to future generations,” said Abu Bekir Geziligeder, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey. “We have gathered in this forum to further promote sustainable fishing through Inspiring each other, sharing knowledge and exploring collaboration opportunities.”

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