Mediterranean Sea at Risk

The Mediterranean is currently the most overfished sea in all Europe. Over 90% of stocks fished exclusively by EU countries are overexploited are overfished above what is considered sustainable.




The Mediterranean Sea, or Mare Nostrum, is one of the world’s most important seas. Located between Africa, Asia and Europe, it is also a primary trade route given its strategic — and geopolitically — important location.

Within the coastal region, the people inhabiting the area have had centuries of interactions with the marine environment. Extensive fishing for iconic species, such as bluefin tuna, Mediterranean swordfish, hake or mullet and the use of destructive trawling gears, have led to decades of overfishing and habitat degradation that have seriously threatened its marine life.

To protect marine ecosystems and preserve fisheries in the region, Oceana is focused on specific areas including: Overfishing; Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing);  Marine Protected Areas and Species and Habitats protection (including corals, sharks, etc.).

Our marine scientists also carry out at-sea campaigns where they study marine environment with the help of a marine robot and professional divers. Areas of particular conservation interest in the Mediterranean cover the Balearic Islands, where the Cabrera National Park is located; the Menorca Canyon and the Mallorca Channel with its important seamounts of Ausías March, Emile Baudot  and Ses Olives. The Alboran Sea hides interesting features such as: kelp forests or cold-water coral reefs.

The results of these studies are then examined on board the vessel and subsequently at headquarters, to draft reports that prove the ecological importance of the identified areas and the need to protect them.

Read more about the work we’ve done in the Mediterranean here.