EU chief warns on Med overfishing

THE EU’s Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella has warned that the vast majority of fish stocks in the Mediterranean are being over exploited. He has called for concerted action to tackle the problem.
He said it was a clear threat to fishing communities and their way of life throughout the entire region.
His warning follows the presentation of a new strategy for the Mediterranean at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels last month.
Now Commissioner Vella has indicated that the EU is willing to take the lead in seeking solutions and has already hosted a meeting with fisheries ministers from affected countries.
‘All in all, 93 per cent of the fish stocks assessed are over exploited,’ he said.
An agreement reached in Catania, Sicily, in February by the majority of Mediterranean ministers declared urgent action was needed to reverse the decline of fish stocks in the region and reduce competitive pressures within the sector.
Converging views in several key areas were identified: the need to focus efforts on the stocks that are important for the sector’s viability and to apply targeted and proportionate measures; the need to improve scientific cooperation, support small scale fisheries and fight illegal fishing; and the need for solidarity between countries when it comes to shouldering the additional burden of modernisation and control.
The Commissioner has also visited Algeria to discuss the need for a common strategy for the management of Mediterranean stocks.
Meanwhile, looking further afield, Vella has just signed an EU declaration on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing with Canada.
The agreement will commit Canada and the EU to strengthen monitoring and compliance measures, and to exchange information on suspected and proven cases of non-compliance