Oceana regrets lack of decisive actions by EU to end overfishing in the Mediterranean | Oceana

Oceana regrets lack of decisive actions by EU to end overfishing in the Mediterranean

Press Release Date: February 10, 2016

Location: Madrid


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

Oceana is disappointed by the passive attitude shown by EU States that continues to postpone the EU’s duty to end overfishing by 2020. A high-level seminar on the state of fish stocks in the Mediterranean organized by the European Commission (DG MARE) and the Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC) closed today in Catania, Sicily, with no concrete decisions taken.

“The time for mere talking has now passed,” explains Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.“96% of Mediterranean stocks managed by the EU are overfished, including species such as hake and red mullet, which are currently in a substantially worse situation than bluefin tuna before its recovery plan. Drastic action is therefore possible, and we expect that the European Commission and EU states quickly come up with concrete actions to stop this senseless overfishing in the Mediterranean.”

Some scientists have described the Mediterranean as the most overfished and the worst managed sea in the world. The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, acknowledges that 50% of Mediterranean fish caught is not even declared. The seminar was supposed to be the key forum to discuss and come up with solutions to the dire state of the majority of commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean. Many interesting ideas were debated, but now the Commission has the obligation to act in case EU states continue to drag their feet.

Oceana has called for the immediate emergency closures of all heavily overfished stocks, such as hake, and also those which are currently unable to fulfill the legally binding deadline to reach sustainable levels by 2020.

Other measures urgently required now include:

– Reducing fishing mortality and basing catch and effort limits on best available science.

– Protecting nursery and spawning grounds to guarantee stock recovery.

– Protecting juveniles by applying minimum sizes corresponding with maturity.

– Improving selectivity of fishing gears.

– Improving monitoring, control and compliance.

Overfishing in the Mediterranean factsheet

Photo album: Most overfished species in the Mediterranean