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GFCM Failed To Address Fisheries Decline

by the Fish Site Editor
19 May 2011, at 1:00am

GLOBAL - The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) closed its 35th session in Rome on Saturday but has failed to create any management measures to deal with the decline of Mediteranean fisheries, according to environmental group, Oceana.

Oceana state that, according to recent scientific advice, 22 of 23 Mediterranean stocks are overexploited, including highly valuable commercial species like red shrimp, hake and mullet, and drastic reductions in fishing effort are required, as well as additional measures for endangered sharks. But it seems that, despite all the advice, the GFCM have ignored the warnings of depleting fisheries.

Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe, said, "Mediterranean fisheries are vanishing, yet Mediterranean decision makers remain passive, avoiding implementing even basic management for overexploited stocks".

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently warned that more than 40 species of marine fish currently found in the Mediterranean could disappear within the next few years. According to a study recently published, at least 12 species of bony fish, including highly commercially valuable European hake, are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, among other causes.

Referring to the role of the EU, Mr Pastor added: "The EU is not excluded of this context. Mediterranean fisheries exploited by EU fleets are facing the same situation of over exploitation and lack of appropriated management. Taking into account the ongoing process of the CFP reform, EU has an overwhelming responsibility in ensuring that immediate change occurs in the Region".

Although the exploitation of many fish species were over looked, Oceana do agree that the meeting did have some positive outcomes. There was a movement towards measures to protect endangered species threatened by fishing activities such as, seabirds, monk seals, sea turtles and red coral, although the marine conservation organisation believes strong action should have been taken to immediately address the overall situation of Mediterranean fish stocks.

the Fish Site Editor