As the 37th annual session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) closed last week, Oceana said that it was appalled by the failure to take action in addressing the state of Mediterranean fish stocks.

The strong opposition to the EU proposal to adopt precautionary measures for the first time, including a reduction in fishing effort for demersal stocks of at least 10%, in line with scientific advice, led the session to gradually reduce any hint of ambition and finally adopt vague guidelines without any binding effect, said Oceana.

María José Cornax, fisheries campaign manager at Oceana in Europe, stated: "This is a critical time for the GFCM as its funding text is undergoing a process of review. It is clear that a strong political commitment to restore fish stocks is a requirement for success, yet the first message sent by these countries has been a complete disregard of the repeated warnings from scientists. This begs to question whether we can hope for a future of Mediterranean fisheries at all."

However, the meeting did conclude with the adoption of terms of reference for the reform of the Agreement, as well as a decision on the management of marine protected areas.