Oceana and scientists call on Mediterranean states for a fisheries management plan in the Strait of Sicily | Oceana Europe
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Oceana and scientists call on Mediterranean states for a fisheries management plan in the Strait of Sicily

Press Release Date

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Location: Madrid
Contact: Marta Madina: mmadina@oceana.org 0034 911 440 884

Oceana and over 50 scientists urge Mediterranean States to establish a management plan for demersal fisheries in the Strait of Sicily based on the best available scientific advice to ensure the recovery of overexploited stocks of hake and deep-water rose shrimp. The letter, signed by the scientists, will be disseminated at the 39th session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), at its opening today in Milan.

Contracting parties to this commission will meet for the whole week to identify management measures for the Mediterranean stocks under a challenging scenario: 91% of fish stocks under their control are overexploited. On the top of the agenda is a management plan for demersal fisheries in the Strait of Sicily for heavily overfished hake and deep-water rose shrimp. In the case of hake, GFCM scientists have warned about the alarming situation of the stock for almost 30 years. Today, there is still no measure in place to recover this fishery.

“Scientists have been reporting the overexploitation of hake and deep-water rose shrimp in the Strait of Sicily since the ‘80s and have identified solutions to recover these stocks” says Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “It is about time that the administrations of Mediterranean countries listen to them and define management measures in line with the ‘best available scientific advice’, as they are bound to under international agreements”.

On the basis of the best available scientific advice, Oceana urges the inclusion of the following elements as the cornerstone of a management plan for demersal fisheries in the Strait of Sicily:

  • Protect juveniles by establishing Fisheries Restricted Areas or closures in key nursery regions
  • Immediately and substantially reduce fishing activities for hake and deep water rose shrimp

Oceana will be participating at the 39th session of the GFCM seeking to end overfishing and ensure a sustainable future for Mediterranean fish stocks. As the first crucial step to achieving this, Oceana is campaigning for the adoption of a management plan to recover overfished stocks in the Strait of Sicily.

Map: Nursery areas in the Strait of Sicily

Video: Recovering Mediterranean commercial stocks through fisheries closures