The General Fishery Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of FAO, at its 26th (Ischia, September 2001) (the meeting was attended by Mr. Ghattas Akl, Director of Rural Development & Natural Resources-Ministry of Agriculture and Mr. Ibrahim Hawi, Head of Rural Development Department–Beqaa), endorsed a project proposal to develop a Mediterranean Fishery Statistics and Information System (MedFiSis) and emphasized the importance and urgency of setting-up an integrated statistical system. FAO and the European Union jointly financed the three-year project MedFiSis. Such a regional system was recognized to be necessary to complement other fisheries management means and serve as the basic vital tool for international bodies to monitor the state of the Mediterranean fisheries and the well-being of the whole ecosystem in the basin. For the system to be of effective regional use, all countries around the Mediterranean should have a national system that collects, processes, stores and disseminates an agreed common set of data; i.e., same data standards and definitions. A standardized methodology was already introduced in countries in Western Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea, through the activities of two donor-supported FAO projects (CopeMed and AdriaMed).
The countries of the Eastern Mediterranean (Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey), which did not benefit from the aforementioned assistance, participated in the TCP-project ‘Enabling Participation in the Fishery Statistics and Information System in the Mediterranean’ (TCP/INT/2904) in order to be in a position.
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