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Scientists back up Oceana’s proposal to protect juvenile fish in the Mediterranean Sea

Rome. Today, fisheries scientists from Mediterranean countries have validated the Oceana proposal to close nursery areas in the Strait of Sicily in order to restore the heavily overfished stocks of deep-water rose shrimp and hake. Earlier this month, Oceana, the largest international organization for the protection of the oceans, submitted this proposal to the FAO’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean.

“Mediterranean Sea stocks are in a critical state, as 92% of bottom-dwelling stocks are overfished and not a single step has been taken to reverse this, ” says Lasse Gustavsson, executive director for Oceana in Europe. “For this reason, we urge coastal governments to follow their own scientists’ advice and adopt Oceana’s proposal for the Strait of Sicily. Let’s protect nurseries, let’s protect tomorrow’s fish.”

Oceana’s proposal is based on the most recent and sound scientific data available and includes the closure of three nurseries areas: the east of Adventure Bank (hake), the east of Malta Bank (hake) and the west of the Gela Basin (deep-water rose shrimp) to protect juveniles and contribute to rebuilding these overfished stocks. These closures are a key element that must go hand in hand with a recovery plan aimed at rebuilding  the stocks and ensuring the long-term sustainability of fisheries and the fishing industry in the Strait of Sicily.

Mediterranean coastal states will convene in Milan on 25-29 May to discuss the future of overfished Mediterranean Stocks, including Oceana’s proposal for protecting juvenile fish in the Strait of Sicily.

Video: Recovering Mediterranean commercial stocks through fisheries closures

Map: Nursery areas in the Strait of Sicily