Oceana today proposed a set of measures to tackle the alarming amount of overfishing occuring in the Mediterranean Sea, which affects 88 out of 97 of assessed fish stocks. The percentage of overfished stocks in this sea has been increasing over the years, cementing this region’s position as the worst hit in Europe. The international marine conservation organisation is therefore calling for strong measures, based on scientific advice, to reverse this trend.
“The more stocks are assessed in the Mediterranean, the more it becomes clear how incredibly high overfishing rates are in the region. It is past time to take concrete action to phase out this tremendous problem. Managers can no longer turn their backs to this situation, and must coordinate with the scientists to base management plans on sound knowledge,” stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe.
Oceana urges the incorporation of the following measures into management plans for the region:
According to the Commission communication released yesterday, 91% of Mediterranean stocks are overfished. The situation is very alarming: 96% of demersal stocks (72 out of 75) including European hake, red mullet and deep-water rose shrimp, and 59% (16 out of 28) of pelagic ones, including anchovies and sardines, are overfished. Furthermore, there are still several stocks for which a status assessment has never been conducted. This means that the overall situation might yet be worse than the one described by the Commission.
“Overfishing is not the only one problem in the Mediterranean. Illegal fishing activities and overcapacity, among others, are shortcomings that must be addressed with the appropriate enforcement of existing legislation. Moreover, fishing policy should be compatible with the implementation of measures responding to conservation-related EU legislation such as the designation and management of Natura 2000 sites at-sea”, added Pastor.