“Hard choices have been made in the northern seas, but stocks have improved and the industry has grown more profitable as a result.”
Admittedly, the Mediterranean is a more complex story, due to fishing vessels from North-African and Eastern Mediterranean countries also exploiting the stocks, meaning management measures have to be agreed for all.
However, even when the political and territorial complexities are factored in, progress in the Mediterranean is still far too slow. The EU believes that Member States and the Regional Advisory Council for the Mediterranean need to be more proactive and apply a more localised approach to overfishing. Effective action is needed, and there is no time to spare.
Scientists recommend that a number of measures be taken immediately.
Scientists recommend that a number of measures be taken immediately: curbing fishing effort and catches to reduce fish mortality for all demersal fisheries; implementing a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) system for small pelagics; and modifying gear selectivity.
The Commission will continue to provide leadership incentives to get the Mediterranean fisheries on track to sustainability, but deeply regrets delays in the sustainable management of areas such as the Gulf of Lion, the Ligurian and Balearic Seas, and most of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Basins.
The EU bases the management of fisheries on sound science. Data and findings gathered through scientific research are made publicly available so that the processes and decisions are fully transparent. The EU also facilitates the participation of the fishing sector and other stakeholders by presenting and discussing management plans and data in open forums, such as the Commission’s annual seminar on the State of Fish Stocks in European Waters, where all interested parties and citizens are free to attend and contribute to discussions.
This year’s seminar was held in Brussels on 17 September, and was attended by fishing industry representatives, environmental organisations, citizens and journalists. Scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries presented the latest biological and economic information on the state of fish stocks in European waters, as well as the economic state of European fishing fleets.