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Black Sea:Call For Strategy To Sustain Fish Stocks

Sustainability Politics

EU - To protect Black Sea fish stocks and the livelihoods of local fishermen, all Black Sea coastal states should back and enforce a new joint fisheries policy, based on long-term sustainability and co-ordinated effort, says a resolution passed by the European Parliament.

"The development in the Black Sea is very worrying - if urgent measures are not taken we risk having a dead sea," warned author of the resolution, Iliana Malinova Iotova (S&D, BG).

Many Black Sea maritime ecosystems are currently seriously affected by dynamic changes directly related to fishing, climate change and pollution, notes the resolution

The new policy - to be specifically designed for the Black Sea basin and introduced as an integral part of a soon-to-be-reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) - should help to preserve and improve fish stocks under the EU umbrella, say MEPs.

International co-operation vital

Given that the co-operation of all Black Sea states is vital to improve management practices, MEPs welcomed European Commission efforts to establish working groups with Russia and Turkey as a step in the right direction, but also stressed the need to involve other Black Sea coastal states, such as Ukraine and Georgia.

Long-term sustainability

The current practice of setting annual fish quotas for every state should not be the only option for managing Black Sea fisheries, says the resolution, which calls for long-term solutions such as scientific-based multi-annual management plans, to improve both "the economic situation of the fishing sector and the environmental situation of the Black Sea ecosystems".

New regional management body foreseen

Many of the problems that Black Sea coastal states need to face today stem from the lack of an appropriate institutional structure to co-ordinate and manage local fisheries, says the resolution.

Parliament therefore urges the Commission to make a full use of the existing international bodies and tools to ensure better co-ordination of local fisheries policy.

The Commission should also consider the creation of a new regional management body that would - in a long term - "foster and promote communication" between scientific institutes, fishermen, producers and processors within the Black Sea region, MEPs add.

The resolution was approved by a show of hands.