The FAO EastMed assessment of the fishing gears in Lebanon was conducted from the 18 to 22 July 2011. The main objectives of the mission were to make a review of the main fishing techniques in Lebanon and to propose ways how to re-structure the fleet, including proposals for a change in the associated fisheries legislation. The experts visited the main landings ports, and conducted interviews with fishers, fishing gear suppliers, fishmongers and officers from the Ministry of Agriculture. The main findings show that several characteristics which include, restricted continental shelf, artisanal gears and vessels, lack of electronic equipment (e.g. GPS, fish finder) and lack of freezing facilities, result in fishing activities which are restricted to 3-6 nautical miles from the coast. Most of the fishing gears use small mesh sizes and hooks with the
consequence of the presence of small sized fishes and juveniles in the landings. This therefore requires development of fishing techniques and any associated fisheries legislation. The priority should be to improve the exploitation of fisheries resources by using more sustainable fishing gears and increase the exploitation of offshore waters and at the same time reduce the fishing pressure from coastal waters. However, any change of gear, fishing strategies, prohibition of fishing technique or any development must be subject to an assessment of the potential impact including biological, economic and social and introduced gradually with the support of the fishing industry. If this approach is not followed it could lead to illegal fishing, with possible conflicts between fishers includingrious consequences.