Marine conservation organisation urges priority for low-impact artisanal fishers over destructive fishing practices in the region’s coastal waters
Fisheries ministers from Mediterranean countries signed today a historical declaration on a Regional Plan of Action for small-scale fisheries. The Ministerial Conference, organised by the GFCM and FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, lays down a new framework for fisheries governance in the region and builds on the 2017 MedFish4Ever initiative. The declaration marks a political pact by Mediterranean governments to support, strengthen and promote concrete actions for the biggest sector in the region - representing 84% of all fishing vessels – for the next ten years.
“Artisanal fisheries in the Mediterranean go back over 5,000 years and are part of the region’s cultural heritage. Its future is currently at stake due to overfishing, habitat degradation and climate change. We applaud the pact signed by the minsters as a true commitment to their coastal communities to protect ocean resources and livelihoods for future generations,” said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe.
“The region’s coastal waters should be primarily reserved for low-impact small-scale fisheries, supporting at the same time sustainable fishing methods, protect biodiversity and safeguard the livelihoods of the coastal communities,” added Gustavsson.
Oceana urges Mediterranean governments to immediately start implementing concrete actions to better understand the activities of the small-scale fishing fleet, in particular, the systematic monitoring of vessels and recording of all catches - something that currently does not exist and prevents the region from properly and effectively managing its fisheries.