Oceana welcomes historical step to save Mediterranean fish stocks
Mediterranean countries today firmly undertook to restore fisheries to sustainable levels
Press Release Date: June 26, 2014
Almost 80% of fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea are overfished
Rome – Today, high-level officials representing Mediterranean countries, including Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, expressed their commitment to put an end to overfishing in the Mediterranean Sea while considering marine ecosystems and preserving fragile habitats. This historical step has been taken within the UN FAO General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), whose annual meeting is being held this week in Rome, Italy.
Oceana, the international marine conservation organization that has been participating as an observer in this process since its inception, has strongly welcomed this long-awaited step. “In 1949 Mediterranean riparian states agreed to manage fish stocks”, stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “More than 60 years later fisheries remain unmanaged and almost 80% of stocks are overfished. Today, we can finally celebrate that the GFCM has not turned a deaf ear to the alarms and we welcome its strong stance, which we hope will turn the tide for the future of Our Sea”.
The Contracting Parties have worked on a new GFCM Agreement text, including new significant changes that now will have to be properly implemented. The text will be formally endorsed by the Parties next Saturday. In particular, Oceana welcomes:
- Adoption of multiannual plans to achieve the sustainable management of stocks –more fish at sea, fisheries more profitable.
- Definition of Fisheries Restricted Areas (FRAs) for the protection of Essential Fish Habitats – spawning and nursery grounds of commercial species- and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems, within or outside Management plans
- Adoption of the precautionary principle when managing stock –precaution will apply even in the absence of information.