CopeMed II is a project under the responsibility of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Division (FIMF). Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome.

Coordination to Support Fisheries Management in the Western and Central Mediterranean.
CopeMed Phase II

The Project




The capacity to quantitatively assess the status of fisheries stocks and evaluate the trade-offs of management actions is an important asset to make informed decisions in fisheries management. Most well management fisheries rely on some form of stock assessment as basis for management advice, varying from the data demanding and costly methods used in large-scale and high-value fisheries to the less data intensive approaches used in some small-scale fisheries.

In the context of the Mediterranean and Black Sea region, FAO have a long history of actions towards the improvement of the knowledge on the status of stocks as well as the management of fisheries, namely through the work of the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the FAO Regional Projects AdriaMed, CopeMed, EastMed and MedSudMed. The European Commission Joint Research Center has been giving stock assessment trainings since 2012 to support the stock assessment technical groups of the STECF Committee in both Mediterranean and Black Sea. Despite the observed improvements in the quantity and quality of the stock assessments in the Mediterranean region, there are still large differences in technical capacities on new methods and tools among Mediterranean and Black Sea countries, hampering, in some cases, a more productive collaboration in the assessment of stocks at the sub-regional level as well as in the provision of advice in support of decision making. In addition, a large number of stocks remain unassessed because of inadequate data and/or approaches to deal with assessments in data-limited situations. Closing these gaps will require a continuous improvement of national capacities in fish stock assessment through appropriate education and training programmes, as the FAO/GFCM/JRC Summer School in Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment. Such improvements will be instrumental to meet the objectives of the GFCM Mid-term Strategy (2017–2020) and of the MedFish4ever Declaration, towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries.


With the objective to enhance and maintain a high level of technical expertise in fish stock assessment in the region, FAO Projects AdriaMed, CopeMed, EastMed and MedSudMed, GFCM and JRC organized in the last two years the “Summer School in Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment”. The Summer School is intended to offer a regular and extended learning opportunity to fisheries scientists from the Mediterranean and Black Sea to keep up to date with new methods and tools for the assessment of stocks, and with the ultimate aim to create a pool of experts that can enhance the provision of advice on the status of stocks within the framework of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC) of the GFCM and the stock assessment EWGs of the STECF. The first edition of the Summer School, held in 2017, was attended by a total of 34 participants from 10 countries. The second edition in 2018 had 48 participants from 13 countries.


The third edition of Summer School will run from 8 – 19 July 2019 and take place in the Institute of Anthropic Impacts and Sustainability in marine environment of the Italian Research Council (IAS-CNR) in Capo Granitola, Trapani (Italy).


The school is intended for fisheries scientists engaged in stock assessment within fisheries departments, research institutes and non-governmental organizations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, as well as to young scientists seeking specialization in applied quantitative methods for natural resources management.


The Summer School will combine theoretical lectures with practical, hands-on sessions where researches will have the chance to work on case study data sets provided by instructors. The courses will be based on the R language for statistical computing and graphics.

The Summer School will be divided in two consecutive Modules of 5 days each, with a weekend break between Modules. The first Module will be dedicated to data preparation for stock assessment and will cover basic procedures for preparation of the input data to be used in stock assessment methods, such as standardization of indices, data raising, age slicing, and the estimation of biological parameters. In the second Module students will explore some of the most common stock assessment methods currently in use to estimate the status of stocks and to produce scientific advice to fisheries management.

A more detailed outline of the Modules content will be provided in due time.


The modules will be delivered in English. The course is intended for fisheries scientists and will assume a basic understanding of population dynamics, fisheries biology, basic statistics and quantitative data analysis. Participation to the Summer School is conditional on a proved intermediate knowledge of R. Students that attended previous editions of the Summer School are encouraged to apply.


All software used throughout the course will be open-source and freely available for download from the internet. Participants will be required to provide their own laptops which should, ideally, be wifi enabled.
A specific share point will be created to store course material and data used during the training as well as to provide an online follow-up support after the training.


Registration is free and open to fisheries researchers working in the Mediterranean and Black Sea countries. Maximum attendance is 25 participants per Module. Considering the limited availability of seats, preference will be given to applicants from different countries.

In order to apply for the Summer School, applicants should submit a REGISTRATION FORM (available on the registration page), indicating which Module they wish to attend,


Limited financial support is available to cover the travel and living expenses while attending the school. The allocation of the funds will be based on the analysis of the applications and will be preferably given to researchers from developing countries.


The school will be hosted by Institute of Anthropic Impacts and Sustainability in marine environment of the Italian Research Council (IAS-CNR) in its unit in  in Capo Granitola ( The Capo Granitola unit of IAS-CNR is placed along the southwestern Sicilian coast (Italy) in the Municipality of Campobello di Mazara (Trapani). Participants will be accommodated in hotels in Mazara del Vallo (15 minutes driving distance) and commute daily to Capo Granitola by shuttle bus.

Mazara is widely considered to be one of the most important fishing centres of Italy. Its port gives shelter to the largest fishing fleet in Italy. There are numerous venues for dinner as well as opportunities for walking and sightseeing through the city and in surrounding areas. It is about 90 km southwest from the international airport in Palermo and 60 km from the airport in Trapani.


Marcelo Vasconcellos
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department

Miguel Bernal
General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean

Alessandro Mannini
European Commission Joint Research Center

Francesco Colloca
Institute for Marine Resources and Biotechnologies
National Research Council (IRBIM-CNR).

Angelo Bonanno
Institute of Anthropic Impacts and Sustainability in marine environment
of the Italian Research Council (IAS-CNR)

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