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EU’s new proposal fails to save Mediterranean

Oceana calls on the EU to increase the trawling ban to a depth of 150 m all year round as the only way to reverse the alarming state of the heavily overfished sea.

Press Release Date

Friday, March 9, 2018
Location: Brussels

The European Commission published yesterday a new proposal for a multi-annual management plan for fish stocks in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The Commission’s proposal to ensure the recovery of crucial species, such as hake, mullet and shrimps, is a direct follow-up to the #MedFish4Ever ministerial Declaration from 2017. However, in its current state, the proposal is not sufficient to tackle trawling gears, known as the main threat to the ecosystem and artisanal fisheries in the region.

Oceana urges the EU to increase the trawling ban from the current depth of 50m to a depth of 150m all year round, instead of a depth of 100m for only 3 months out of the year (1 May to 31 July), as proposed in the Commission’s communication. In addition to ensuring preferential access for low- impact fisheries, this measure would ensure the protection of sensitive habitats, such as maërl and coralligenous, and essential areas for juveniles, which are fundamental for fish stock recovery.

"The proposed plan allows for the most destructive fishing gears in the Mediterranean to continue operating on the same fishing grounds as low- impact small scale fisheries, which are socially and economically significant for local communities– warns Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “Furthermore, the plan is perpetuating a fisheries management system that has demonstrated to be a complete failure: based on control of fishing effort – i.e. days at sea—instead of catch limits that have proved to recover stocks in other European waters."

The Mare Nostrum is in a critical situation, as more than 90% of the fishing stocks are currently overfished and some of them at high risk of complete collapse.

The European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the EU are responsible for adopting a plan that establishes new and better management in the Mediterranean Sea in order to achieve the Common Fisheries Policy’s legal commitment to end overfishing by 2020.

#StopOverfishing #CFPreality #MedFish4Ever