Oceana calls for strict control over measures on trawl and seine to come into force today

Oceana predicts high non-compliance with the Mediterranean Regulation because the European fleet rejects the new measures for nets and distances from the coast

Press Release Date: June 1, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Oceana calls for strict application of the control measures to ensure compliance with the new measures included in the Mediterranean Regulation that comes into force today. The international marine conservation organisation predicts high levels of non-compliance because the sector, which had a three-year adaptation period, rejects the new measures. As of today, the European trawl and seine fleets must use a new mesh size and, like dredges, must operate farther from the coast to target bivalves.

Oceana calls attention to the lack of basic measures in the Mediterranean Regulation that guarantee sustainable fishing activities. The legal text, the Council Regulation 1967/2006 of 21 December 2006, includes specific measures like a ban on trawl fishing over seagrass beds, brown algae beds, coralline and rhodolith beds, but does not include coral, sponge or gorgonian beds, for example. Furthermore, it lacks measures proven effective for Mediterranean stock recovery, limiting itself, for example, to establishing minimum sizes for only 27 exploitable marine species.

“We cannot let another failure in the application of European fishing legislation for the Mediterranean happen. Control must be strict and exceptions must be minimal”, points out Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe. The new measures in force today are necessary but still insufficient to achieve long-term sustainability of fishing activities and reduce the overexploitation to which many Mediterranean stocks are subjected.”

The fishing sector and some regional governments have rejected and criticized the European Regulation on mesh size for trawl and seine fisheries, and the minimum distance from the coast for these fleets and dredgers. However, the European Fishing Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, announced already that the adaptation period for trawlers will not be extended.

Oceana calls attention to the fact that non-compliance will be frequent and must be resolved through the enforcement of strict control measures in port and at sea, as well as the consequent sanctions. Additionally, exceptions must not be made unless included in the Regulation and until compliance to the new measures is guaranteed, and there must be scientific proof that the activity will not have a negative impact on the marine environment.