Scientific Cooperation to Support Responsible Fisheries in the Adriatic Sea

 Fishery Management --> Operational Units

Overall Objective:

 AdriaMed Events
 Presentation at other meetings

The GFCM requested that the SAC define the Geographical Sub-areas in the Mediterranean and thereafter to define and list the Operational Units within the Geographical Sub-areas. AdriaMed together with CopeMed took on the task of acting as pilot case for the whole Mediterranean region.


The definition of an Operational Unit, as endorsed by the GFCM, encompasses four key-components: fishing effort; (group of) fishing vessels operating a given category of fishing gear (practising the same type of fishing operation); target resources (either made up of one species or group of species); and (similar) economic structure. Therefore an Operational Unit could be considered as characterised and constituted by identified fishing vessel categories which target resources consisting of one or, more probably, of a species assemblage. Given this, the identification of Operational Units involves the prior identification of key-fisheries which at the initial disaggregated level may be seen as locally structured according to the resource, the local fishing grounds and related ports where the fishing vessels operate from and where the economics of production originate (e.g. access to local/regional markets, trading, processing, vessel-related activities and costs, etc.). These basic aggregations might be considered as elementary Operational Unit constituents.

Preliminary Results:

The work carried out within the AdriaMed cooperative framework has led to the following:

  • Clarification and consensus on the ultimate useful meaning of the Operational Units with particular reference given to the practicality and sustainability of the Operational Unit concept as an effective fishery management tool. The Operational Units should primarily be a tool for the fishery manager to facilitate management actions. Once established they could be used by all countries allowing management measures to be more specifically addressed and implemented and results to be appraised, discussed and evaluated.

  • The implementation of a multidisciplinary approach upon a regionally-concerted and standardized methodology.

  • The preliminary qualitative and quantitative identification and listing of the Operational Units of the Adriatic coastal countries. For instance, in the important case of demersal trawl fisheries they were assessed as actually consisting of 2437 fishing vessels of which 1862 in the GSA 17 and 575 in the GSA 18, structured into 27 Operational Units, 17 in GSA 17 and 10 in GSA 18.

  • The appraisal of the Operational Unit concept applicability as important tool for management purposes. While the Operational Units and the information related are useful to describe the fishery and to allow a fishing effort management system, it should be pointed out that the fishery management process needs biological, economic and social data to implement an efficient system of management measures. The constraints due to the lack of economic information for some Adriatic countries can reduce the effectiveness of the Operational Units identified as a practical fishery management tool.

AdriaMed Events:
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Presentation at other meetings:

GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee - 7th Session

date and place:

19-22/10/2004  - Rome - Italy


punto elenco

FAO AdriaMed, 2001. A preliminary contribution to the Mediterranean Operational Units. - Paper presented at the GFCM-SAC Working Group on Operational Units. GCP/RER/010/ITA/OP-04: 9 pp.





FAO-AdriaMed project  - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
(room C353)  Viale delle Terme di Caracalla - 00153 Rome -Italy- ::: tel  +39 06 570 56092/55467 ::: fax +39 06 570 55188 - 

[online]. Rome. Updated. [Cited ].