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21 NGOs and groups call on the EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella to protect the Jabuka/Pomo Pit from demersal fisheries.

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Mr Karmenu Vella                                                                                         July 31st, 2017

Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

European Commission 200, Rue de la Loi, B-1049 Brussels

Subject: Urgent call for a Fisheries Restricted Area in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit closed to demersal fisheries.

Dear Commissioner Vella,

the Jabuka/Pomo Pit, in the central Adriatic Sea, is a site of unique productivity due to the physical processes influencing the dynamics of water circulation and nutrient delivery to this area. In particular, the Pit hosts the most important Adriatic nurseries for European hake, Norway lobster and others valuable species, such as horned octopus and monkfish, making it a critical area for the recovery and sustainability of these stocks and the fisheries that depend on them. The Jabuka/Pomo Pit is also a key area for vulnerable species of cetaceans and sea turtles and a suite of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs).

Last May the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), endorsed a proposal for the establishment of a Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit, with a core area closed to demersal fisheries and a surrounding buffer area with limited and monitored fishing [1].

The proposed  FRA covers the waters closed to trawling through a bilateral agreement between Italy and Croatia in 2015, which took into account the advice of AdriaMed scientists. The Pit was then re-opened to trawling in 2016 due to pressure from the Italian fishing sector, depriving the area and its nursery and spawning grounds from the much needed protection. Recently, following the growing support for a FRA in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit, Croatia and Italy agreed to reintroduce a fishing closure from the September 1st 2017. Because of their critical and irreplaceable importance to the Adriatic broader marine ecosystems and ecosystem services, the Pit Essential Fish Habitats deserve lasting conservation measures to ensure that national political shifts do not reverse established protection, as it was the case in 2016.

We, the undersigned organizations and groups, call on you to propose the establishment of a Jabuka/Pomo Pit FRA closed to demersal and recreational fisheries at the next GFCM Conference (Montenegro, 16-20 October 2017).

A proposal by the EU following scientific advice, would be fully consistent with the CFP. A FRA in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit would also create a level playing field in the Adriatic by extending the current fishing ban introduced in area by Croatia, to other fleets in the region. Based on scientific information available to date, anything short of a FRA closing the Pit to demersal fisheries is unlikely to be effective in rebuilding Adriatic depleted stocks and would fell short of the MedFish4Ever Declaration objective to recover fisheries in the region.

We therefore strongly urge you to promote a FRA in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit that:

  • Introduces a ban on demersal fisheries including towed nets, bottom set nets, bottom and mid-water longlines and recreational fishing.
  • Defines the waters closed to demersal and recreational fishing according to the proposed FRA core area endorsed by the SAC in May 2017.
  • Includes a buffer area where fishing activities will be restricted and only allowed to authorized fishing vessels.
  • Provides mechanisms for monitoring the status of the EFHs and VMEs in the area.
  • Strengthen MCS measures to ensure full compliance.

Yours faithfully,

20000 Milja– 20.000 Leagues Marine Explorers Society.

Adriatic Recovery Project

AIDAP

Archipelagos Institute of Marine Marine Conservation

BIOM

CASA – Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance

Fundaciò ENT

Greenpeace

Legambiente

Marevivo

MEDASSET – Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles

MedCEM – Mediterranean Center for Environment Monitoring

MedReAct

New Economics Foudation

Pechétique

Oceana

OurFish

Seas at Risk

Sunce – Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development

Vivamar – Society for the Sustainable Development for the Sea

Zdravi Grad

[1]The Scientific Advisory  Committee  requested  the Commission to consider the establishment of a new GFCM FRA in the central Adriatic Jabuka/Pomo Pit, on the basis of the technical elements and coordinates provided in the FRA proposal”. Nineteenth session of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) Ljubljana, Slovenia, 16-19 May 2017.

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TIME TO PROVIDE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION FOR THE JABUKA/POMO PIT.

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15 July 2017. On the eve of the EU Fisheries Council (Bruxelles, 17 July 2017), which will examine the latest status of Mediterranean fisheries[1], the Adriatic Recovery Project calls upon Commissioner Vella and Croatia to promote the establishement of an international Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) in the Central Adriatic Jabuka/Pomo Pit, closed to all demersal fisheries, such as trawling and longliners.

Last May the Scientific Committee (SAC) of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), endorsed the Adriatic Recovery Project’s proposal for the establishment of a FRA closed to all demersal fisheries in the Pomo/Jabuka Pit, and submitted it to the next Conference of the GFCM (Montenegro, 16-20 October 2017). This measure would allow for the protection of the most important nursery and spawning grounds of Adriatic overexploited species, such as European hake and Norway lobster. In addition, the establishment of a FRA closed to demersal fisheries, would create a level playing field in the area by extending the fishing ban, introduced last May by Croatia, to all Mediterranean fleets.

“We consider the establishment of the Jabuka/Pomo Pit FRA, closed to all demersal fisheries, the first testing ground for the European Commission willingness to implement the Med4Fish Declaration, adopted last March in Malta. We now look at the Commission to propose the establishment of the FRA at the GFCM Conference, with measures based on SAC advice. Anything else short of a full ban on demersal fisheries will be considered a poor compromise and will not provide the full protection needed for the critical habitats and species present in the area ” – said Domitilla Senni from  MedReAct/Adriatic Recovery Project.

English version with map: CS_ 1307017 Jabuka-EN

Croatian version: CS Pomo 15.7.2017 HR

The Adriatic Recovery Project is an alliance of  NGOs and scientific institutions to  protect vulnerable marine ecosystems  and fish essential habitats of the Adriatic Sea. The Project is coordinated by MedReAct, in partnership with Legambiente, Marevivo, the Stanford University and the Marche Polytechnic University.

[1] Communication from the  Commission on the State of Play of the Common Fisheries Policy and Consultation on the Fishing Opportunities for 2018.

 

 

ADRIATICO DA SVELARE E DA SALVARE. Presentato ad Ancona il dossier dell’Adriatic Recovery Project sugli ecosistemi vulnerabili dell’Adriatico e sulle misure per la loro tutela .

 

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Ancona 5 luglio 2017 – Solo nel 2014, 52.000 tartarughe catturate dallo strascico di cui 10.000 morte e, negli ultimi 50 anni, crollo del 94% dei grandi predatori. Tra questi alcune specie, come lo squalo angelo (Squatina squatina) o il grande squalo bianco (Carcharodon carcharias), una volta comuni nell’intero Adriatico, sono praticamente scomparsi. Stesso trend negativo per i mammiferi marini, delfini, foche, balene e per le tartarughe marine. Drastica anche la riduzione di habitat e specie strutturanti, come letti di ostriche, o foreste di pennatule, spugne, fondamentali per il recupero delle specie commerciali e non solo.

Questi sono solo alcuni dei dati contenuti nel dossier dal titolo “Adriatico da svelare”, presentato il 5 luglio ad Ancona a bordo del Palinuro, la nave scuola della Marina Italiana, da Carlo Cerrano del Politecnico delle Marche.

Durante l’incontro, al quale hanno partecipato anche Valeria Mancinelli, Sindaco di Ancona, Giuseppe Valentini, Comandante della nave Palinuro, Maria Rapini, segretario generale di Marevivo, e Domitilla Senni di MedReAct, sono state inoltre presentate le azioni dell’Adriatic Recovery Project per il recupero delle risorse marine dell’ Adriatico.

L’Adriatico ospita il 49% delle specie marine conosciute in Mediterraneo ma, insieme al Golfo di Gabes in Tunisia, è l’area del Mediterraneo dove si pratica con più intensità la pesca a strascico, particolarmente distruttiva per gli ecosistemi vulnerabili marini come i giardini di spugne e coralli, campi di pennatule e gorgonie, fondali a molluschi bivalvi e altre foreste di animali marini, canyon sottomarini e praterie di posidonia considerati habitat fondamentali per la salute del mare. Lo strascico può provocare anche un forte impatto sugli habitat considerati essenziali per le specie ittiche, ovvero quelle aree in cui le larve o i giovanili di specie commerciali si ritrovano con elevate abbondanze e densità (ad esempio la Fossa di Pomo in centro Adriatico).

Solo di recente la CGPM, Commissione Generale per la Pesca nel Mediterraneo (CGPM), l’organismo regionale che regolamenta la gestione e la conservazione delle risorse biologiche marine, ha avviato un processo per la loro identificazione e tutela anche attraverso l’istituzione di aree di restrizione alla pesca (Fisheries Restricted Areas, FRA).

Per questo lo scorso febbraio MedReAct, con il supporto scientifico del Politecnico delle Marche e dell’Università di Stanford, ha presentato al CGPM una proposta per l’istituzione di una nuova FRA nella Fossa di Pomo a tutela delle importanti nurseries e delle VMEs presenti nell’area La proposta ha stimolato un’iniziativa congiunta di Croazia e Italia per la chiusura alla pesca demersale di una zona della Fossa di Pomo dal 1 settembre 2017.

Decenni di malapesca hanno impoverito l’Adriatico, esaurito gli stock ittici, compromesso la struttura degli habitat di fondo e provocato la scomparsa di alcuni predatori, come lo squalo angelo – ha dichiarato Domitilla Senni di MedReAct – E’ ora di cambiare rotta attraverso una nuova misura di recupero del mare, anche attraverso il divieto allo strascico di fondo nelle zone più sensibili come la Fossa di Pomo e altre aree a rischio”.

In Adriatico esistono ancora tanti spunti di scoperta e riscoperta delle meraviglie del mare – spiega Maria Rapini, segretario generale di Marevivo – e proprio per tutelare la biodiversità che sussiste in queste acque, nonostante le pressioni dirette e indirette sull’intero sistema marino costiero, sono importanti ed urgenti le iniziative di ricerca, studio e sensibilizzazione come Adriatic Recovery Project”.

Scarica il dossier adriatico da svelare_web

 

World Oceans Day: “Mare Nostrum or Mare Mortum?” Why does Europe support the destruction of the Mediterranean Sea?

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Large fish at risk of extinction, 39 fish stocks overexploited, catches of hake 5 times over sustainable limits, high degree of discards and bycatch, desertification of the seabed, high energy costs. All consequences of the industrial fisheries that receive the largest part of EU subsidies.

7 June 2017 – While the world celebrates Oceans Day on the 8th of June, MedReAct calls the attention of the European Union to the destructive impact of trawling in the Mediterranean and to the paradox at the heart of the EU’s fishing system: “Why subsidies are largely given to those who are responsible for the destruction of marine ecosystems and depleation of vulnerable species? Isn’t it time to change course?”

A new study published by Nature Ecology & Evolution confirms the risk of extinction in Europe for various large fish species, as well as for sharks and rays, due to their slow maturation and low birth rates and overfishing by professional and sport fishermen. The same study reveals that the percentage of overexploited fish stocks in the Mediterranean is significantly higher than that in the North Atlantic. The researchers confirmed that all of the assessed 39 Mediterranean fish stocks were found to be overexploited, with the hake in lead position, being fished at 5 times sustainable levels. The hake is the demersal species of highest commercial value, fished primarily by bottom trawlers and to a lesser extent by longliners.

But the impact of trawling, the most widespread industrial fishing practice in the Mediterranean, isn’t limited to the depletion of hake. In the past 30 years this sector of the industry has grown exponentially and, because of declines in the resource, has shifted increasingly to deeper waters in the hunt for new valuable stocks, such as deep water shrimps, creating irreversible changes to the seabed. In other instances it has encroached into forbidden coastal areas, in conflict with small-scale artisanal fisheries.

It is calculated that in 2014 alone trawling by the Italian fleet  was responsible for accidental catches of 20.000 sea turtles, most of which died as a result of suffocation or injury. But not only. The nets that are dragged along the sea bed collect everything in their way: fish, corals, sponges and other bottom-dwelling species. The sediments that are continually exposed to this practice have been found to be lacking the organic matter that constitutes a food source for benthic organisms, thus risking to turn the seabeds into marine deserts.

Trawling is a destructive form of fishing which is empoverishing our sea and which also has high energy costs. The European Union has calculated that for every tonne of fish captured, bottom trawlers of 24-40 metres consume 4,258 litres of fuel, as compared to 169 litres consumed by a fishing vessel of the same size using purse seines. And yet, it is those same bottom trawlers that benefit most from EU fisheries contributions, from fuel subsidies to funds for modernising the vessels and for compensating fishermen for the temporary suspension of fishing activities which as of today has produced no tangible result for stock recovery.

To celebrate World Oceans Day, the EU should reconsider its use of European tax-payers money to finance the destruction of the Mediterranean, so that Mare Nostrum doesn’t become Mare Mortum.

Images from MedReAct/Francesco Cabras: https://tinyurl.com/yc6j8zck

Journée mondiale des océans : “Mare Nostrum ou Mare Mortum ?” Pourquoi l’Europe ferme-t-elle les yeux sur la destruction de la Méditerranée ?

Grands prédateurs au bord de l’extinction, stocks majoritairement en état de surexploitation chronique, des captures de merlu 5 fois supérieures aux limites durables, 20 000 tortues dans les filets des chalutiers en 2014, désertification des fonds marins, coûts énergétiques non tenables… Tel est le paysage que laisse derrière elle la pêche industrielle, celle qui bénéficie le plus des subventions européennes.

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7 juin 2017. Alors que la Journée mondiale des océans sera célébrée demain un peu partout dans le monde, MedReAct interpelle l’Union européenne sur l’impact du chalutage en Méditerranée et souligne le paradoxe qui est au cœur de la gestion des pêches : Pourquoi les subventions vont-elles majoritairement à ceux-là même qui portent la plus lourde responsabilité dans la destruction des espèces vulnérables et des écosystèmes marins ? N’est-il pas temps de changer le cours des choses ?

Une nouvelle étude publiée par Nature Ecology & Evolution confirme le risque d’extinction de plusieurs espèces de grands prédateurs, y compris des requins et des raies. Certes, ces espèces ont pour caractéristiques communes d’avoir une maturité sexuelle tardive et un taux de reproduction faible, ce qui ne les a jamais empêchées de tenir depuis toujours leur place dans les écosystèmes méditerranéens. Ce qui est en cause est donc à chercher ailleurs, du côté de la surpêche de la part aussi bien des pêcheurs professionnels que récréatifs. Cette étude révèle également que le pourcentage des stocks surexploités est supérieur en Méditerranée par rapport à l’Atlantique Nord-est. Les 39 stocks évalués dans le cadre de l’étude affichent toutes des taux de capture qui indiquent la surexploitation. En raison de sa très forte valeur commerciale, le merlu est traqué par les chalutiers de fonds et dans une moindre proportion par les palangriers, ce qui lui vaut de figurer en tête des espèces surpêchées, avec des niveaux de capture 5 fois supérieurs à ceux que l’on pourrait qualifier de durables.

Mais l’impact du chalutage de fond, la technique la plus répandue en Méditerranée, va au-delà de la raréfaction du merlu. Au cours des trente dernières années, ce segment de flotte a connu une croissance exponentielle. Au fur et à mesure du déclin des stocks pêchés, le chalutage s’est fait plus profond, pour atteindre des nouveaux stocks à forte valeur ajouté comme les gambas, ce qui a créé des dommages irréversibles sur les fonds marins, un écosystème particulièrement fragile. Ces chalutiers font également des incursions régulières dans la bande côtière où ils entrent en conflit direct avec la petite pêche.

Les experts évaluent à 20 000 le nombre de tortues capturées en 2014 par les chalutiers italiens, la plupart d’entre elles étant tuées par noyade ou blessées. Mais les dégâts ne s’arrêtent pas là : Les chaluts trainés sur le fond ramassent ou détruisent tout ce qu’ils rencontrent : poissons mais aussi coraux, éponges et autres espèces animales endémiques. Alors qu’ils constituent la réserve de matière organique des espèces inféodées aux fonds marins, les sédiments constamment retournés par les chaluts s’appauvrissent, au point que certaines zones se transforment peu à peu en déserts sous-marins.

Le chalutage est un mode de pêche qui appauvrit notre mer et dont les coûts énergiques sont non soutenables. Le JRC de l’Union Européenne a ainsi calculé que pour les chalutiers de fond de 24 à 40 mètres, le ratio entre capture et consommation de carburant était de 4,25 : 4 258 litres de fuel (détaxé) pour 1 000 kg de poisson ! Ce chiffre est à comparer avec la consommation d’un senneur (filet utilisé pour le thon, la sardine et l’anchois) de taille équivalente : 169 litres pour 1 000 kg (2). Pourtant, ce sont les chalutiers de fond qui bénéficient de la plus grande part des aides européennes, qu’il s’agisse de subventions au carburant, à la modernisation des bateaux ou encore au chômage des marins pour cause de fermeture d’une pêcherie en raison de la faiblesse du stock (une mesure qui n’a jamais fait ses preuves en matière de restauration des stocks).

L’Union Européenne devrait mettre à profit cette Journée mondiale des océans pour reconsidérer l’utilisation qu’elle fait de ses aides et l’impact qu’elles ont sur la dégradation de la Méditerranée.

Mare Nostrum ne doit pas devenir Mare Mortum !

Images: MedReAct/Francesco Cabras: https://tinyurl.com/yc6j8zck

(1) An interview-based approach to assess sea turtle bycatch in Italian waters https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408728/

(2) Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) ; The 2016 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet (P. 159).

En el Día Mundial de los Océanos ¿Mare Nostrum o Mare Mortum? ¿Y el por qué Europa apoya la destrucción del Mediterráneo?

Especies de gran tamaño en peligro de extinción, 39 poblaciones de peces sobreexplotadas, la captura de merluza es 5 veces superior a los niveles sostenibles, altos niveles de descartes y capturas accidentales, desertificación del lecho marino y altos costes energéticos. Todo esto como consecuencia de las pesquerías industriales, unas flotas que reciben la mayor parte de los subsidios de pesca de la Unión Europea.

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8 de junio – Hoy, mientras el mundo celebra el Día de los Océanos, la coalición MedReAct aprovecha para dar un toque de atención a la Unión Europea (UE) sobre el impacto destructivo de la flota de arrastre en el Mediterráneo y sobre la paradoja en el seno del sistema pesquero de la UE: “¿Por qué las subvenciones se otorgan en gran medida a quienes son los mayores responsables de la destrucción de los ecosistemas marinos y el agotamiento de especies vulnerables? ¿No sería hora de cambiar de rumbo?”

Un nuevo estudio publicado en Nature Ecology & Evolution confirma el riesgo de extinción en Europa de varias especies de peces de gran tamaño, así como de tiburones y rayas, debido a su lenta maduración, a su baja natalidad y a la sobrepesca por parte de pescadores profesionales y deportivos[i]. El mismo estudio revela que el porcentaje de poblaciones de peces sobreexplotadas en el Mediterráneo es significativamente más alto que en el Atlántico Nororiental. Los investigadores confirmaron que en el Mediterráneo los 39 stocks evaluados resultaron estar sobreexplotados, con la merluza liderando esta clasificación por tener niveles de captura 5 veces superiores a los límites sostenibles. La merluza es la especie demersal de mayor valor comercial, pescada principalmente por los arrastreros de fondo y, en menor medida, por los palangreros.

Pero el impacto de la pesca de arrastre de fondo, la práctica pesquera industrial más extendida en el Mediterráneo, no se limita al agotamiento de la merluza. En los últimos 30 años este sector de la industria ha crecido exponencialmente y, debido a la disminución de los recursos marinos, su esfuerzo pesquero se ha ido desplazado cada vez más a aguas de mayor profundidad, en la búsqueda de nuevas poblaciones valiosas, como la gamba blanca o de altura, creando cambios irreversibles en los fondos marinos. En otros casos ha invadido zonas costeras prohibidas, entrando en conflicto con la pesca artesanal.

Se calcula que en el año 2014, sólo en aguas italianas, la flota de arrate de fondo fue responsable de la captura accidental de unas 20.000 tortugas marinas, la mayoría de las cuales murieron por asfixia o lesión[ii]. Así es, las redes que se arrastran por el fondo marino recogen todo lo que encuentran por su paso, ya sean especies objetivo o no: peces, corales, esponjas y otras especies que habitan en el fondo. Además, se considera que en el Mediterráneo se descarta hasta el 18% del total de las capturas (es decir, se rechazan anualmente alrededor de unas 230.000 toneladas de pescado), siendo las flotas de arrastre las responsables del 15 al 65% de los descartes generados[iii]. Pero los impactos no acaban aquí. Se ha comprobado que los sedimentos que están continuamente expuestos a esta práctica carecen de la materia orgánica, otro grave impacto puesto que esta materia orgánica constituye una fuente de alimento para los organismos bentónicos, arriesgando así convertir estos fondos en desiertos marinos.

La pesca de arrastre es una modalidad de pesca destructiva que está empobreciendo nuestro mar y que también conlleva un elevado consumo de combustible. El Informe Económico Anual de la Flota publicado por la Unión Europea revela que por cada tonelada de pescado capturado, los arrastreros de fondo de 24-40 metros de eslora consumen hasta 4.258 litros de combustible. Mientras que un buque de cerco del mismo tamaño consume 169 litros por tonelada de pescado[iv]. Sin embargo, además de ser altamente contaminantes estos mismos buques de arrastre son los que más se benefician de los subsidios pesqueros de la UE, ya sea mediante exenciones de impuestos al gasoil, fondos públicos para la modernización de los buques o para compensar a los pescadores durante las paradas temporales de la actividad pesquera.

Para celebrar el Día Mundial de los Océanos y con el objetivo de que el Mare Nostrum no se convierta en Mare Mortum, la UE debería reconsiderar el uso que hace del dinero de los contribuyentes europeos y parar de financiar la destrucción del Mediterráneo.

[i] Fernandes, P. G. et al. Coherent assessments of Europe’s marine fishes show regional divergence and megafauna loss. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 1, 0170 (2017).

[ii] Lucchetti, A., Vasapollo, C., & Virgili, M. An interview-based approach to assess sea turtle bycatch in Italian waters. PeerJ, 5, e3151 (2017).

[iii] Soriano-Redondo, A. et al. Relative abundance and distribution of fisheries influence risk of seabird bycatch. Scientific Reports 6, 37373 (2016).

[iv] Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries – The 2016 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet (STECF-16-11) (2016).