European Commission proposal aims for more sustainable Mediterranean fishing
The European Commission has announced a new proposal aimed at fixing fishing opportunities in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea for 2021 for selected fish stocks and groups of fish stocks.
The proposal, drafted by the Council of the European Union, is in an endeavor to effectively manage sustainable fishing activities among European Union members involved in fishing in the two areas, and also North African countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya that are members of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), a regional fisheries management organization consisting of 24 member countries.
The Mediterranean and the Black Sea have the highest percentage of stocks being fished at unsustainable levels, of up to 62.5 percent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The new proposal has set out maximum allowable fishing effort by stock groups, as well as the overall length of trawling vessels fishing for demersal stocks in western Mediterranean Sea for 2021 and beyond.
“The proposal implements the multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean, by continuing to reduce the fishing effort in the area,” the European Commission statement said.
The measures also target eel, red coral, dolphinfish, small pelagic species and demersal stocks in the Adriatic, deep-water red shrimps stocks in the Ionian Sea, Levant Sea, and the Strait of Sicily, in line with the decisions of the GFCM according to the Commission.
According to a new rule, European Union member countries that are active in the western Mediterranean Sea fisheries “shall record and transmit the fishing effort data to the Commission.” The transmission of data will enable the E.U. and other stakeholders to closely monitor to fishing activities in the area and fish stock levels for selected species.
As part of the solution to the unsustainable fishing activities in the Mediterranean, the E.U. and GFCM members and other partners convened a ministerial conference in Malta on 30 March, 2017. The MedFish4Ever Declaration emerged out of that conference, spelling out measures to be taken to “promote the sustainability of the Mediterranean and its fisheries.”
Adoption of the proposal by the Council of the European Union, which took place on 17 August, is in line with the commitment made during the MedFish4Ever by participating parties at the 2017 Malta conference to promote sustainable management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and Black seas in line with the E.U.’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Elsewhere, the MedFish4Ever declaration previously received backing from WFO, which called the resolution “an ambitious strategic plan to transform the Mediterranean fishing sector and ensure the long-term sustainability and availability of fish stocks on the basis of the best scientific advice available.”
“The Malta Declaration is the last opportunity to save the Mediterranean fish stocks and guarantee long-term livelihoods for future generations,” WWF Director of the Mediterranean Marine Initiative Giuseppe Di Carlo said in a statement.
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