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Oceana Asks EU Countries to Stop Delaying Action and End Overfishing in the Mediterranean Now!

BRUSSELS - Oceana calls on EU Commission and Member States to take responsibility and end overfishing in the Mediterranean once and for all. The obligation to sustainably manage stocks was set by the Common Fisheries Policy in 2002 and since then the number of overexploited stocks has kept increasing, with 93% of Mediterranean stocks currently overfished. Oceana considers that the strategy announced today by the EC at Brussels’ Seafood Expo is a positive move made too late – the time has come for countries to adhere to their obligations and take action now.

“The path to environmental disasters is paved with declarations of good intentions. Fisheries in the Mediterranean have been supporting the coastal communities for as long as anyone can remember but it’s taken us just only three decades to undermine the future of fishing.” said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “It is time for a little less conversation and much more action. We urgently need concrete measures that reverse the depletion of Mediterranean fish stocks.”

EU Mediterranean Member States and their partner countries have a legal commitment to end overfishing in the Mediterranean Sea and manage stocks sustainably. However, nothing has been done so far and fisheries remain unmanaged while resources keep declining.

The EU is a leading player in Mediterranean fisheries, and is legally bound to recover fish stocks before 2020 at the very latest.

-       “Government must ensure that all measures necessary are implemented and if fishstocks cannot be recovered by 2020 at the latest, fisheries should be closed,” said Gustavsson.


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The following measures should be implemented without delay:

-  Reduce fishing mortality and base catch and effort limits on the best available scientific advice;

-  Ensure juveniles can reach maturity and recover the stocks by:

  • Adopting a network of protected fisheries nursery areas;
  • Revising landing/commercial minimum sizes so that they correspond to biological maturity sizes;
  • Improving the selectivity of fishing gear so as to avoid unwanted catches and preserve sensitive habitats from destructive fishing methods.

In order to protect the juveniles, Oceana is proposing the closure of three nursery areas for hake in the Strait of Sicily to halt the decline of overexploited hake in this area. This proposal has been presented by the scientists to Mediterranean States and will be discussed in May in the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Sea.

Fact sheet: Mediterranean Sea. A key EU fishing region in a bleak state of overfishing


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Oceana is the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization. Oceana works to protect and restore the world’s oceans through targeted policy campaigns.

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