On the 25th of January, the Member of the Parliament Marco Affronte presented his draft report on the status of fish stocks and the socio-economic situation of the fishing sector in the Mediterranean during a meeting of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee.
Many MEPs as well as the European Commission agreed on the fact that the Mediterranean is in a critical situation mainly because of overfishing, lack of scientific data and IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing). Other critical issues affecting this sea depend on pollution, drilling, climate change and coastal deterioration.
These multiple factors in addition to the fact that the Mediterranean is a closed sea where European states as well as third countries compete for the same resources, make the situation very complex and no easy solution is in sight.
The aim of Mr Affronte’s report is to reach sustainable long-term management of the marine resources through enhanced cooperation with third countries, biological recovery periods, closed areas, preferential access to resources for small scale fishermen, introduction of quotas for over-exploited species and effective actions against IUU.
The EAA is pleased to see that the European Parliament is ready to cooperate with the Commission to address the problems affecting the Mediterranean Sea. To do so effectively more and better scientific data about stocks, catches and fisheries segments are needed as suggested in the report (point 22). Recreational fishing deserves to be treated fairly and equitably for all the positives it brings to people and the local communities – and not, as is often the case today, as a commercial fishing adversary. Most fish stocks and shellfish fished by the commercial sector are not fished by the recreational fishers. The few ‘shared stocks’ can be fished sustainably by both sectors if proper management measures are put in place.
The draft report is available here