A Ministerial Conference on the sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries took place last week in Malta with the participation of Fisheries Ministers and representatives from most Mediterranean countries as well as a broad range of stakeholders including EAA’s Italian member Alleanza Pescatori Ricreativi (APR). The conference was arranged by the European Commission “to strengthen governance to attain the environmental, economic and social sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries”. The conference concluded by the ministerial representatives’ signing of the ‘Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration’.
The conference followed up on last year’s seminar in Catania to ‘Putting an end to overfishing in the Mediterranean’.
Without any doubt, political action is needed very much now. A recent study by the Joint Research Centre, the in-house research body of the European Commission, provides evidence that 93% of the fish stocks assessed are overexploited and several of them are even on the verge of collapse. Furthermore, the study also reveals that the Mediterranean has lost 41% of its marine mammals and 34% of its total fish population over the past 50 years.
The MedFish4Ever Declaration includes a 10-year strategy to rebuild the fish stocks. The signatories are committed to implement a number of actions to improve data collection, to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, to establish an ecosystem-based fisheries management framework and more.
Recreational fisheries are mentioned in the Declaration several times, for example in para 39:
“Establish, as soon as possible and by 2020 at the very latest, a set of baseline rules to ensure an effective management of recreational fisheries across the Mediterranean. This common base will be further complemented by additional measures in in multi-annual management plans when relevant; especially regarding data collection and the need to establish a set of rules to ensure the effective management of recreational fisheries by 2020.”
It is clear from this Declaration alone, that from now on recreational fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea can expect to be monitored more and increasingly regulated. The European Anglers Alliance is well positioned to engage in these matters in Brussels and on the Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC), where Alleanza Pescatori Ricreativi (APR) participates on behalf of EAA. We will, of course, engage all we can with the resources available to achieve the best for recreational angling and the fish stocks. However, EAA urges national angling organisations around the Mediterranean Sea to mobilize now to make the angling community more capable of taking part, and to be influential on what is to come.
At this time, we would like to encourage more angling organisations from the Mediterranean Sea area to join the EAA, so that we can speak with a united voice to represent the needs of anglers throughout the Union. The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been ‘regionalised’ and more extensive stakeholder consultations have become ‘central planks in fisheries management’. The EU’s Mediterranean Sea is one region. The Mediterranean angling community needs to mobilize to become one solid plank in Mediterranean Sea fisheries management.
● “European Commission secures 10-year pledge to save Mediterranean fish stocks”, 30 March 2017
● “Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration”, 30 March 2017
● “Bridging gaps in data to save Mediterranean fish stocks – first follow-up to Medfish4Ever political declaration”, 3 April 2017
● “Saving our heritage, our future: The worrying state of Mediterranean fish stocks”, 3 April 2017
● “Putting an end to overfishing in the Mediterranean", 9 February 2016
In the picture, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Laura Pisano, Alleanza
Pescatori Ricreativi (APR) in Malta.