On March 6, Karmenu Vella, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs presented to the EU Ministers at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council the Adriatic Sea multi-annual plan. The plan only concerns small pelagic fisheries especially anchovy and sardines. This is the first multiannual fisheries management plan ever for the Mediterranean and the third that the Commission is putting forward since the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Overfishing dramatically impacts the Mediterranean Sea. The Commission estimates that 93% of its fish stocks are over-exploited. Therefore, this plan, if fully implemented, would prevent anchovy and sardines stocks to collapse by 2030 and foster the increase of stocks by up to 20%.
Last year, the “High Level Seminar on the State of the Stocks in the Mediterranean and on the CFP approach” has held in Catania (Italy) and the Commission's campaign MedFish4Ever have been launched, both aiming at safeguarding vital shared fisheries resources in the region. The Catania seminar has led to a series of high level discussions with third countries, on the status of stocks and the need to step-up efforts and cooperation to restore healthy fisheries. The Commission has openly said there is momentum for action, and a Ministerial Conference will be organised in Malta, on 29 and 30 March which plans to adopt the “Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration”. The declaration should set clear objectives for the sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries.
The European anglers welcome these signs towards a better management of Mediterranean fish stocks, and are actively involved in this region through their work in the Mediterranean Advisory Council (Med-AC).
More information on the Adriatic Sea multi-annual plan are available here.