Oceana recommends the inclusion of kelp forest as well as recovery plans for species as hake, sharks and swordfish

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The Fisheries Commission of the European Parliament is TOMORROW debating measures for fisheries management and the protection of coral and seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean.


April 11, 2005
Madrid
Contact:
Marta Madina ( [email protected] )




Oceana, the international organisation dedicated to researching the marine environment, reports that the European Parliament will tomorrow be debating a proposal made by Euro MP Carmen Fraga for the sustainable management of European Fisheries, including the protection of vulnerable ecosystems, against bottom trawling and other fishing techniques that impact on the sea bed.

Some of the major issues on debate are the adoption of measures to reduce the overexploitation of swordfish, an increase in the size of mesh in fishing nets to improve selectivity, and a ban on using bottom trawling gear over ecosystems with such a high environmental value.

Since Oceana compiled a list of habitats over which bottom trawling should be banned some two years ago, this is the first time that European institutions have taken note of many of them.

In this respect, all marine phanerogams have been included, not just Posidonia, and a specific mention has been made of corals and maërl beds or coralline algae.

Oceana believes it is also necessary to extend protection to extremely important ecosystems that tend to be overlooked by legislation, such as kelp forests, coralligenous communities and their gorgonias, and brown algae beds of the Cystoseira species.

“The Mediterranean cannot continue as a sea that is dominated by fisheries chaos and the disparity of measures between its bordering countries. The adoption of a regulation that takes into account the characteristics of this sea and makes a commitment to its future is not just a necessity but a debt that Europe has owed it for decades”, states Xavier Pastor, the Director of Oceana in Europe.

Oceana is pleased about the progress represented by this proposal, but recommends that the text is improved with the inclusion of other fundamental points in terms of the sustainable management of this sea. 

Oceana therefore recommends to the European Parliament:

  • The urgent adoption of coordinated measures to manage the fisheries resources of the Mediterranean.
  • The creation of protected marine areas where the main ecosystems of this sea can be conserved.
  • A ban on the use of fishing techniques that have proven to be damaging to any kind of ecosystem and sea.
  • The formulation of a list of protected species in the Mediterranean.
  • The development of a conservation plan for elasmobranches in consonance with the FAO’s International Plan of Action for Sharks (IPOA sharks-FAO)
  • The establishment of a schedule for phasing out any exceptions within a maximum of 10 years.
  • The approval, for commercial species, of minimum sizes based on scientific knowledge which allows species to reproduce before they are caught.
  • The adoption of a Principle of Precaution to avoid the introduction of new fishing techniques or the opening of new fisheries that are not backed up by an economic and environmental viability study.
  • The establishment of specific management plans for the most threatened and/or overexploited species.