#MedFish4ever strategy launched

The artwork is inspired by the fish-featuring mosaics from ancient times and is meant as a reminder of how deeply fish and fishing are rooted in European culture The strategy artwork is inspired by the fish-featuring mosaics from ancient times and is meant as a reminder of how deeply fish and fishing are rooted in European culture

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, has launched #MedFish4ever - a new Mediterranean strategy to improve the state of the stocks in the Mediterranean.

He also called for action at international level at Europe’s biggest industry event in the sector, Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, where he held a public debate with some key players in EU fisheries. This was followed by a Ministerial conference with ministers from both the EU and the Mediterranean partner countries.

"The facts are undisputed,” he said at a recent conference. “Fish stocks in the Mediterranean are shrinking. Some are on the verge of depletion. All in all, 93% of the fish stocks assessed are over-exploited. This is an environmental but also a social issue, as it represents a clear threat to the way of life of fishing communities around the Mediterranean".

According to the Commission, there are several reasons for this bad state, including pollution and climate change, but it also says that there is no doubt that extensive overfishing is one of the key causes. And as data is not available for all stocks it is impossible to say how all stocks are faring.

The EU has said that it is willing to take the lead in finding solution to this state of affairs. Commissioner Vella has already been in contact with some of the EU’s key partners, including Algeria, Turkey and Tunisia, and there is a shared sense that action is needed across all stocks. Only a comprehensive approach and a sense of engagement from all actors and countries around the basin can produce concrete results.

The Commissioner also intends to start working on a new Declaration on sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean that would be a follow-up to the 2003 Venice Declaration and that, this time next year, should give new vision and impetus to conservation and sustainability in the Med.

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