In the context of the last Common Fisheries Policy reform the European Parliament produce the report “Establishment of fish stock recovery areas” that examines a proposal to establish a network of ‘fish stock recovery areas’ to cover 10-20% of territorial seas of EU Member States.
Such protected areas in Europe and elsewhere have produced rapid and long-lasting recovery of many commercially important species. They have also benefited surrounding fisheries through spillover and export of offspring from protected stocks. Fish stock recovery areas could make a major contribution to improving the status and productivity of fisheries, as well as safeguarding marine biodiversity.
The complexity of the Mediterranean multispecies fisheries coupled with traditional management tools based on technical measures and fishing capacity control, have mostly failed to ensure the long-term viability of fish populations or the conservation of important habitats.
Evidence shows that no-take areas have produced rapid and long-lasting recovery of many commercially important species. They have also benefitted surrounding fisheries through spillover and export of offspring from protected stock. In this context, fish stock recovery areas -or no-take marine protected areas- can function as a hedge against the deep rooted limitations of traditional fisheries management and contribute to the recovery of the Mediterranean depleted stocks, as well as setting positive management precedents.