ICCAT: Swordfish

The number of swordfish in the Mediterranean is in now a critical state. Decades of overfishing and a chronic lack of management and recovery plans to rebuild stocks have led to a 70% drop in the amount of swordfish in the Med. Sea.


The swordfish is an iconic, fast-swimming and peculiar predator of the Mediterranean Sea. Its fishery contributes significantly to the socio-economic activity in the Mediterranean region-especially in Greece, Italy and Spain-where swordfish is consumed the most. When sold fresh, its price tag can reach up to €24 per kilo.

However, the number of a Mediterranean swordfish has plummeted to critical levels. More than 3 decades of overfishing swordfish in this area has left stocks at only 30% in 2016, with no sign of a recovery.

Many swordfish caught in these waters are too young (juvenile, in fishing terms) to be able to reproduce, putting the long-term sustainability of swordfish at great risk.

Oceana calls on the EU and all Mediterranean countries sharing these waters to table a robust and immediate recovery plan to rebuild the region's swordfish stocks. Such a recovery plan must be science-based and be presented at the ICCAT Commission (the international body charged with protecting swordfish) meeting in November 2016, which will determine the amount of swordfish that can be caught in the region (total allowable catches, (TACS)), and so ensure swordfish stocks get onto the right path towards sustainable levels.


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