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France, Italy and Spain team up to delay EU overfishing deadline for the Mediterranean

Leaked document reveals ministers agree to overfish and won’t restrict destructive fishing such as bottom trawling under new Western Mediterranean plan

Press Release Date

Thursday, December 13, 2018
Contacts:
Marta Madina: mmadina@oceana.org 0034 911 440 884
Craig Lawson: clawson@oceana.org 0034 682 662 245

Oceana has had access to a proposal by the fisheries ministers of Italy, France and Spain in which they agree to end overfishing in the Mediterranean by 2025. This would imply both a five-year delay to the legally-binding EU 2020 deadline and unfair treatment over other EU countries, an unacceptable political move for the most overfished sea in the world, claims Oceana.

The controversial proposal by the three powerful fishing nations will be discussed today in the EU Council during negotiations for a multiannual plan for the western Mediterranean.

 “It is unacceptable that these ministers are trying to break the law and postpone their legal commitment to end overfishing by 2020, when they have known about this deadline for 6 years now”, said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana Europe.

The livelihoods of 250,000 people depend on the Mediterranean, the world’s most overfished sea. If European countries openly break the Common Fisheries Policy rules and cannot raise their ambition to set good standards for managing their own fisheries, this will set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the Mediterranean countries. Developed EU countries have a responsibility to lead by exampleadded Gustavsson.

In addition to moving the deadline, ministers Gian Marco Centinaio, Didier Guillaume and Luis Planas propose reducing the number of days at sea by just 10%, despite scientists advising up to a 90% reduction for certain fish such as hake, which is at a high risk of collapse.

Under the common fisheries policy (CFP), which entered into force in 2014, member states committed to end overfishing by 2015 or by 2020 at the latest. Little has been done to fulfil this EU-wide fisheries law in the Mediterranean Sea, as the latest figures from the UN FAO confirm it is the most overfished sea in the world, with around 80% of stocks classified as ‘overfished’.

Oceana therefore is calling on ministers to fulfil the law and agree on an ambitious multiannual plan based on science that ensures a rich and abundant Mare Nostrum for the people and communities that rely on this sea as a source of food and work.

Learn more: Western Mediterranean. Overfishing crisis: act now, or lose it forever

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