In May 2010, Member States' data on commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean, together with data on effort trends and landings at fleet level were assembled by the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) through its dedicated fisheries data collection web site. Thanks to the JRC's persistent efforts and quality checks, more complete and reliable data is now available to support sound scientific advice in fisheries management. Despite shortcomings in the compliance with data call rules, the JRC's scientists were able to provide the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) working group for the Mediterranean with an increased amount of quality data on stocks compared with previous years.
This success builds on the pioneering STECF work carried out in 2008 and 2009 which aimed to establish scientific evidence to support the development of long-term management plans for selected fisheries in the Mediterranean, and to strengthen the Community's scientific input to the work of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). In 2009 this involved data compilations and assessments for 59 combinations of demersal (i.e. the species that live in closer vicinity with the seabed, e.g. hake, red mullet, red shrimps, common sole, etc.) and small pelagic (such as anchovies and sardines) species, and for Geographical Sub-areas (GSAs) which indicated overfishing for most stocks and recommended reductions in catches and fishing mortality in the short term.
Over 54% of the Mediterranean fish stocks analysed by scientists are found to be fished to well above sustainable harvest levels. The EU 'Mediterranean Regulation', in force since 1 June 2010 for Member States bordering the Mediterranean basin, aims to improve the management of fisheries to help them become more sustainable, protect the fragile marine environment and restore fish stocks to healthy levels.