All posts by lydiamed

OCEAN DAY: MEDREACT CALLS ON FRANCE TO FULLY PROTECT THE GULF OF LION FRA

FRAS_Med_Camp

The Ocean is the heart of our Planet. Water covers more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. Ocean sustains us and we cannot survive without it.  The Covid-19 pandemic has awakened us to how much our livelihoods and well-being depend on a healthy planet, and how much we need thriving and diverse ecosystems to sustain our lives.

The oceans are all at risk, but it is the Mediterranean Sea that suffers from the highest overfishing rate globally. Fish stocks have been heavily exploited, and human impact has deteriorated its diverse and rich marine ecosystems for decades, if not centuries.

An emblematic case of the Mediterranean crisis is the Gulf of Lion, where overfishing has been increasing decade after decade, with 94% of assessed demersal stocks now overfished. The main victim is the European hake, which suffers from the highest overfishing rate in the European Union and Mediterranean waters. It holds the unenviable record of being fished 15 times over sustainable levels.

Protecting hake spawners and sensitive habitats was the main objective in creating a  Fish Recovery Area (FRA) in 2009 in the Gulf of Lion, the first of its kind in the Western Mediterranean Sea. But a recent study[i]shows that the FRA’s management measure—allowing overfishing to continue at its 2008 level—has clearly not reached its objective. It has even worsened the state of biomass of European hake and other commercial species in the area.

The study analyses four possible management scenarios for the FRA, through 2025 and through 2040, incorporating mild and more severe climate change trends. It concludes that, to secure the full recovery of European hake and the ecosystem in general, the FRA should be fully protected by closing it to demersal fisheries.

Despite being heavily overfished, the Mediterranean maintains a high recovery potential, as clearly proven by the Fish Recovery Area in Adriatic Jabuka/Pomo Pit, where a closure for demersal fisheries was introduced in 2017. Less than 2 years after its creation, the Jabuka/Pomo Pit FRA saw a dramatic increase in the biomass of hake and Norway lobster, and is now known as one of the best practices across the Mediterranean.

“In the light of these findings, we urge the French Government to close permanently the Gulf of Lion FRA to demersal fisheries.This is the only option that can fully recover the  depleted hake and  protect  sensitive habitats in the area. The French government must go beyond its general international engagement  on the protection of oceans and show  concrete commitment by closing the Gulf of Lion FRA to bottom fishing” said Stéphan Beaucher, from MedReAct.

[i]https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.22.960914

Squali in Mediterraneo, MedReAct lancia un appello: “Troppe ancora le catture accidentali in Italia. Bisogna fare di più per la loro tutela”.

Guida

Il Mediterraneo, vanta il triste primato della maggiore percentuale al mondo di squali e razze minacciate, con il 42% delle 71 specie valutate nella Lista Rossa delle specie minacciate dell’Unione Internazionale per la Conservazione della Natura (IUCN).
 Tra le specie più soggette a catture accidentali c’è lo squalo Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), una delle 24 specie protette a livello mediterraneo ed europeo (Regolamento (UE) 2015/2102 del 28 ottobre 2015 e Raccomandazione GFCM/42/2018/2), su cui vige il divieto di cattura, possesso, uccisione, commercio, trasporto e l’esposizione per fini commerciali, ma che continua ad essere vittima della pesca accidentale e in alcuni casi addirittura commercializzata. Come quello trovato proprio ieri sui banchi del Maas (Mercati Agroalimentari) di Catania e rivenduto come pesce spada. Un esemplare femmina lungo più di 4 metri, del peso di circa 700 kg e privo di testa e pinna.

Il Mako è una specie pelagica e costiera, presente anche in mare aperto, fino a 500 m di profondità. Una volta comune nel mar Mediterraneo, ora praticamente scomparsa da alcune aree, con un grave declino della popolazione del 99,99% dall’inizio del XIX secolo. Viene pescata accidentalmente dai palangari e tramagli e dalle tonnare.

Un altro episodio recente di cattura accidentale, da parte di un palangaro per la pesca al tonno è avvenuto sempre in acque siciliane. Il suo arrivo in porto a  Ognina (CT) è stato documentato con un video dagli stessi pescatori. L’esemplare è stato segnalato al Gruppo Ricercatori Italiani sugli Squali, razze e chimere (GRIS) e è stato donato al Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Comiso (RG) per scopi scientifici.

“Per garantire la tutela di questa specie vulnerabile –  ha dichiarato Vittoria Gnetti, responsabile del progetto Come migliorare la conservazione di squali e razze a rischio nel Mediterraneo di MedReAct – le misure di tutela già esistono, basta solo che tutti le applichino. E’ quindi importante che i pescatori sappiano con precisione come comportarsi in caso di catture accidentali. Per questo stiamo diffondendo   una guida per il riconoscimento delle specie da rilasciare in mare pensata appositamente per loro”.

L’urgenza è resa ancora più necessaria dall’allarmante declino di queste specie. Infatti, oltre la metà delle 86 specie di squali, razze e chimere del Mediterraneo è minacciata e un terzo di queste è prossima al rischio di estinzione. Questo anche perché il loro ciclo di vita, a differenza di quello di altre specie di pesci, è molto lento, il loro periodo di gestazione è lungo, il loro livello di fecondità è basso così come lo è il tasso di riproduzione.

Tutte caratteristiche che li rendono particolarmente vulnerabili alle attività  pesca, per la difficoltà a ricostituire le loro popolazioni.

La guida, diffusa da MedReAct è stata prodotta in collaborazione con la Società Italiana di Biologia Marina (SIBM), l’Università di Padova, il Gruppo Ricercatori Italiani sugli Squali, razze e chimere (GRIS) e il WWF e vuole essere uno strumento utile per riconoscere le specie che sono protette per legge e che quindi devono essere rilasciate, se pescate accidentalmente, e registrate sul giornale di bordo.

Il progetto è stato realizzato grazie al sostegno del Shark Conservation Fund, un’organizzazione che mette a disposizione competenze e risorse per far fronte alle minacce che affliggono li squali e le razze del mondo. Shark Conservation Fund è un progetto della Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

MORE THAN 200 SCIENTISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD CALL FOR PERMANENT CLOSURE OF THE JABUKA/POMO PIT TO BOTTOM TRAWLING

PRESS RELEASE ADRIATIC

16 October 2017 – More than 200 scientists from universities and research institutes around the world have signed an appeal for the protection of the Jabuka/Pomo Pit, situated in the central Adriatic between Italy and Croatia.

On the eve of the 41st session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) in Montenegro, where a proposal to establish a Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) – i.e. an area closed to demersal fisheries – presented by MedReAct and the Adriatic Recovery Project will be examined, over 200 researchers have appealed to the GFCM to call for the permanent closure of the Jabuka/Pomo Pit to demersal fisheries. The Jabuka/Pomo, with a maximum depth of 200-260 metres, contains unique geomorphological and oceanographic features. It is considered one of the most important Essential Fish Habitats of the Adriatic, hosting spawning areas and nursery of commercially important species such as hake and Norway lobster. Overfishing, especially by bottom-trawling, has caused the decline of fish stocks and threatens their essential habitats as those found in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit.

“I signed it because we should try to recover some of the marine biodiversity we used to have,” declared Daniel Pauly, professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia’s Fishery Centre in Canada, well known for his studies on the impact of fisheries on the marine environment.

“Protection from bottom trawling is an urgent necessity,” said Callum Roberts, professor and oceanographer at the University of York. “Without it, the Adriatic will continue its long slide towards fisheries irrelevance.”

Whereas in the terrestrial environment woods and forests guarantee the maintenance of biodiversity, in the sea it is the structural and functional integrity of the sea beds that permits resiliency to exploitation,” said Carlo Cerrano of the Department of Life Sciences and Environment at the Marche Polytechnic University. “In the long term, without healthy habitat, no species can survive. Bottom trawling is not sustainable.”

“As a researcher familiar with the impact of bottom trawling on benthic ecosystems, and knowing well the ecological vulnerability of the Adriatic Sea and in particular of its deepest zones,” declared Antonio Pusceddu, professor in the Department of Life Sciences and Environment at the University of Cagliari, “I firmly believe that preserving the Jabuka/Pomo Pit should be a priority for the conservation of biodiversity and management of resources of the Adriatic Sea.”

In addition to the numerous adhesions from the scientific community, the creation of a FRA in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit has received the support of the European Union which included it among the EU’s commitments for ocean conservation during the Our Ocean conference held in Malta last 5-6 October. All that it is needed now is for the FRA to be formally established by the GFCM.

“The creation of an FRA in a zone that for decades has been considered a priority for the
conservation of its resources and its vulnerable ecosystems,” concluded Domitilla Senni of MedReAct and coordinator of the Adriatic Recovery Project, “would constitute a first concrete step for the recovery of the Adriatic and the future of its fisheries.”

Download the Press release in English

Download the Press release in Italian

The Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries at Risk from Overexploitation

New article that shows, through the use of various indicators, that the Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries resources are at risk from overexploitation and that the degree of exploitation varies among subareas. Those indicators also sound the alarm bell for the remaining stocks and warn that cases of mismanagement should be abandoned. Detailed and extensive stock assessments are required in relation to stock status and fishing mortality reference points that will eventually lead to conservation policy through management measures.

journal.pone.0121188.g007
The trend for all stocks according to the catch-based method, for the western, central, eastern Mediterranean fishing subarea and the Black Sea for the period 1970 to 2010 (light green: developing; yellow: fully exploited; orange: overexploited; brown: collapsed; dark green: recovering). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121188.g007

Citation: Tsikliras AC, Dinouli A, Tsiros V-Z, Tsalkou E (2015) The Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries at Risk from Overexploitation. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0121188. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121188

Read online in PLOS ONE or Download PDF

Este domingo, la Unión Europea ha agotado su pescado propio para 2015

Sin títuloA partir del domingo 5 de julio los europeos empezarán a comer pescado capturado fuera de la UE, por lo que a partir del 6 de julio y hasta el final del año, Europa dependerá del pescado exterior frente al capturado en sus propias aguas.

Este dato se extrae de una investigación realizada por la New Economics Foundation (NEF), una organización británica que desde hace seis años analiza la autosuficiencia de los países europeos en materia de pesca, es decir, el análisis del volumen de pescado que capturan los países de la Unión Europea cada año con respecto el pescado capturado en las aguas de nacionales de cada país y el consumo por habitante.

Según el informe, en 2015 la dependencia de pescado procedente del extranjero en los 27 Estados miembros de la UE se ha adelantado 6 días respecto al año anterior. Esta mayor dependencia se ha debido a la reducción de 475.000 toneladas de peces capturados en aguas europeas en comparación con 2014.

Para España, la dependencia de pescado exterior es mucho mayor que en la UE, de hecho, el Estado español está en la lista de los países más dependientes de Europa (su día de la dependencia llegó el 9 de mayo), sólo por detrás de Alemania (7 abril), Italia (18 abril) y Portugal (27 abril).

A pesar de tener unos mares potencialmente muy productivos, el 49% del pescado que se consume en la UE procede de mares lejanos (un aumento del 1% en comparación con 2014), lo que significa que estamos exportando la sobrepesca a otras zonas del planeta.

Mediante el consumo de casi el doble de lo que producen nuestros mares, la UE está dilapidando una herencia considerable y de la que podría disponer si se dejasen recuperar sus poblaciones de peces, es decir, si se aplicara correctamente la nueva Política Pesquera Comunitaria (PPC) que, entre otras obligaciones, exige que la UE debe restablecer y mantener las poblaciones de peces por encima de unos niveles capaces de producir el Rendimiento Máximo Sostenible.

En el Mediterráneo, por ejemplo, la Comisión Europea ha lanzado la alarma denunciando que los datos relativos a los recursos pesqueros muestran una situación extrema: el 93% de las poblaciones evaluadas en el Mediterráneo no se pescan de forma sostenible.

La situación es similar para las poblaciones explotadas únicamente por los pescadores de la UE y las poblaciones compartidas con pescadores de terceros países. “A pesar de esta dramática situación, que también afecta a los propios pescadores –Lydia Chaparro, miembro de MedReAct y de ENT Medio Ambiente y Gestión, declara– en el Mediterráneo falta voluntad política para abordar el problema con una estrategia a largo plazo, y que sitúe en su centro la recuperación de las poblaciones de peces a través de una gestión responsable y el establecimiento de zonas reales de protección”.

Sólo la recuperación de las poblaciones de peces europeas podría proporcionar hasta 2.052.639 toneladas más de pescado -suficiente para satisfacer la demanda anual de la UE- producir ganancias de hasta 842 millones de euros por año y crear hasta 64.000 puestos de trabajo. “La recuperación del mar, significa más pescado, más empleo, más beneficios y salarios más altos. Los Estados miembros tienen la responsabilidad de gestionar correctamente los ecosistemas marinos en beneficio de la sociedad, a través de mejores planes de gestión que permitan la recuperación de las poblaciones y una distribución justa y equitativa de los recursos pesqueros”, añade Aniol Esteban, responsable de economía ambiental de NEF.

Por ello, Esteban cree que la reforma de la Política Pesquera Comunitaria (PPC) brinda una excelente oportunidad para restaurar las poblaciones a niveles sostenibles, pero para ello, los Estados miembro deben “hacer los deberes y aplicar el nuevo marco legislativo para mejorar el estado de las poblaciones de peces en Europa, lo que a su vez disminuiría los niveles de dependencia de pescado exterior”. Y añade, si bien ha habido una mejora en el estado de algunas poblaciones de peces en el Atlántico europeo, los ministros de Pesca de la UE siguen acordando límites de pesca por encima de las recomendaciones científicas y pocos o ninguno de los estados miembros están buscando seriamente formas alternativas de asignación de cuotas”.

En esta misma línea, Lydia Chaparro añade que “una distribución justa de las cuotas, la aplicación de la normativa y el aumento de la investigación son pilares fundamentales para recuperar el buen estado ambiental de nuestros mares. Por estos motivos, varias organizaciones se han unido para abordar algunas de estas problemáticas y, entre otras actividades, se está organizando un seminario en Madrid el próximo 14 de julio titulado La importancia de la ciencia y la aplicación de la Política Pesquera Común para poner fin a la sobrepesca, en el que participaran científicos, así como representantes de la administración, sector pesquero y ONGs, con el objetivo de avanzar hacia una gestión pesquera coherente con las políticas actualmente en vigor”.

Informe Fish Fish dependence 2015 disponible en: http://b.3cdn.net/nefoundation/b01cd8c05fc8ad65ed_3im6bai20.pdf