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Anything can happen underwater, and even gardens are not necessarily composed of plants. In fact, one of the most beautiful habitats in the Mediterranean are coralligenous gardens, where trees are replaced by soft corals (gorgonians) and flowers give way to calcareous red algae and animals such as sponges and bryozoans. These wondrous places support a high biodiversity, and steps are now being taken to better protect them.

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science,  and we don’t want to miss this opportunity to thank the women of Oceana who work so hard every day for the ocean. Marine scientists, biologists… whatever their academic specialisation, they spend their working days sailing, analysing underwater footage, reviewing documents, scrutinising data, drafting proposals, writing papers, attending seminars, debating with politicians, discussing with fishers, campaigning at international fora, giving media interviews and many other things that are too much for a single paragraph.

A recent assessment by the EU on its Mediterranean fish stocks has revealed alarming data: 96% of stocks managed exclusively by EU countries are fished over the limits of what is considered by science as sustainable. Some non-migratory species, for example Mediterranean hake, have been overfished up to 14 times more than scientific advice recommends.

A busy week in Malta has just kicked off. On one hand, the town of Saint Julian's will host the world’s premier conference on seafood sustainability: “Seaweb Seafood Summit” and on the other, there will be the “Economic advice in fisheries management” conference, taking place between February 4th and 5th. Oceana in Europe will attend both events, presenting results from the recently launched www.whofishesfar.org  at the latter.

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