Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "I want to congratulate Algeria and Monaco for signing the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration. With this Declaration we are inaugurating a new era of joint political ownership and partnership around the Mediterranean Sea. I am confident that together we can make our shared vision of a healthy and thriving Mediterranean a reality".
The Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration, a practical example of EU's neighbourhood policy, sets out a detailed work programme for the next 10 years, based on ambitious but realistic targets. It establishes a set of clear objectives, promoting greater solidarity across the Mediterranean, the development of sustainable small-scale fisheries, better practices on data collection and scientific evaluation of key stocks, an eco-system based approach and measures to fight Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing.
On 30 March 2017, Ministers from 13 countries around the Mediterranean signed the MedFish4Ever Declaration for sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea. The European Commission welcomes the decision of Algeria and Monaco to join the other signatories. The Commission continues to engage actively with third countries in order to ensure political commitment from the riparian States that have not yet signed the Declaration.
The Mediterranean Sea is a unique sea basin, characterised by its long coastline and a fishing sector providing jobs for over 300 000 people. 80% of its fleet belongs to small-scale fishermen (with vessels under 10m long), who fish a quarter of the total catches. These jobs are at risk as fish stocks in the Mediterranean are shrinking: about 90% of assessed stocks are over-exploited. Food security, livelihoods, and regional stability and security are all under threat.
The MedFish4Ever Declaration is the outcome of the so-called Catania process, launched by Commissioner Vella in February last year and entailing fruitful cooperation with stakeholders, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Secretariat, EU Member States and third countries. Important milestones include a first ministerial conference of Mediterranean fisheries ministers in April 2016, the GFCM annual session in June 2016, and the GFCM inter-sessional meeting in September 2016.
Mr João Aguiar Machado, Director-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Her Excellency Sophie Thevenoux, Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco
Mr João Aguiar Machado, Director-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and His Excellency Amar Belani, Ambassador of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria