Category Archives: Media

Appello di MedReAct per il 22 maggio, Giornata Mondiale della Biodiversità

“Tuteliamo il Mediterraneo: scrigno di biodiversità aggredito dalla pesca indiscriminata e dai cambiamenti climatici”

Roma, 20 maggio 2022 – Il Mar Mediterraneo è un piccolo bacino (0,82% della superficie oceanica mondiale e 0,3% del volume oceanico mondiale) che ospita circa il 7,5% di tutte le specie marine esistenti, con un’alta percentuale di specie endemiche. Un vero e proprio scrigno di biodiversità, che però è sempre più in sofferenza.

I suoi ecosistemi profondi, quelli che si trovano al di sotto dei 200 metri, sono caratterizzati da complesse strutture topografiche, come canyons e montagne sottomarine, e rappresentano habitat vitali per organismi bentonici e per specie demersali. 

Offrono substrati a cui le diverse specie possono ancorarsi e forniscono cibo per diversi tipi di organismi (ad esempio sui ripidi pendi dei canyons sottomarini il plankton resta intrappolato dalle correnti).  Inoltre, la presenza di specie che creano tridimensionalità (come barriere di coralli profondi, campi di pennatule, giardini di spugne ecc) fornisce rifugio e risorse per molte specie, anche pesci demersali, e influenza il funzionamento oceanico attraverso il sequestro di CO2.

Questi ambienti possono costituire dei rifugi climatici perché la temperatura delle loro acque è più fredda rispetto alla temperatura media che invece si sta sempre più surriscaldando. Sono zone che ospitano habitat vulnerabili che a causa dei cambiamenti climatici rischiano una drastica riduzione.

Secondo uno studio recentemente pubblicato da Frontiers in Marine Science la sopravvivenza di questi “rifugi climatici” a livello globale è sempre più a rischio perché gli impatti sugli ambienti profondi sono in continuo aumento; tra i principali c’è senz’altro la pesca indiscriminata, come lo strascico. A questa si aggiungono le attività estrattive di gas e petrolio e, naturalmente, i cambiamenti climatici.

Lo studio individua una serie di caratteristiche per i rifugi climatici riscontrabili nel Golfo del Leone e nel Delta dell’Ebro. Queste comprendono strutture geomorfologiche complesse e condizioni oceanografiche particolari (come la risalita di acque profonde note come fenomeni di upwelling) che consentirebbero la sopravvivenza di specie fragili e vulnerabili sia bentoniche che demersali .

Condizioni simili secondo MedReAct potrebbero trovarsi anche nel Canale di Otranto. Qui infatti si scambiano le acque che si originano nel sud Adriatico con quelle del mare Ionio, creando condizioni particolari che supportano la vita di specie di acque profonde e creano inoltre ambienti adatti a specie particolarmente fragili e vulnerabili come i coralli di profondità. 

In queste aree MedReact ha proposto alla Commissione Generale per la Pesca nel Mediterraneo la creazione di zone di restrizione alla pesca (Fisheries Recovery Areas, FRA) chiuse alla pesca di fondo.

“In occasione della Giornata Mondiale della Biodiversità che si celebra il 22 maggio  – ha dichiarato dice Domitilla Senni, responsabile di MedReact, – è importante ricordare che il nostro mare  non solo è il più sovrasfruttato al mondo ma è anche considerato una delle regioni dove gli effetti dei cambiamenti climatici sono più intensi. Bisogna intervenire subito, superando le resistenze che la tutela di queste aree incontrano a livello delle amministrazioni nazionali.  La loro protezione sarebbe un passo importante per la salvaguardia degli ecosistemi profondi del Mediterraneo e per la funzione che potrebbero svolgere come rifugi climatici ”.

A questo link la Mappa con indicate le Fisheries Recovery Areas, FRA proposte da MedReAct in Mediterraneo.

European Parliament vote will serve as crash test of its ambition for ocean biodiversity and the climate

Tomorrow, 3 May 2022, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be watched by citizens and NGOs as they vote in a plenary session in Strasbourg on a crucial text for the climate and the protection of marine biodiversity and habitats.

As part of the Own Initiative Report of Portuguese socialist MEP Mrs. Isabel Carvalhais “Toward a sustainable blue economy in the EU” [1], Green MEP Caroline Roose tabled an amendment that was already adopted in the Fisheries and Development Committees of the European Parliament, and that is therefore going to be voted in Plenary. Mrs. Roose’s amendment sets out the very fundamentals of what a true “Marine Protected Area” should be by proposing to prohibit one of the most destructive forms of fishing, bottom trawling, in all marine protected areas.

Bottom trawling is a fishing method that consists in towing huge weighted nets and metal chains along the seafloor. It consumes large quantities of fuel, destroys marine ecosystems, levels habitats and catches all marine life indiscriminately. To make matters worse, the heavy towed nets stir up the carbon that is naturally stored in marine sediments, thereby worsening the climate crisis. Such destructive ways of catching fish have no place in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and are recognised internationally as incompatible with the concept of “protected” areas. Mrs. Roose’s amendment aims at raising the EU’s ambition on marine protection, to be on par with international standards on MPAs in a context of accelerating environmental crises.

If the conservative EPP political group, led by Spanish MEP Gabriel Mato, hadn’t called for a separate vote, the prohibition of bottom trawling inside Marine Protected Areas would have been adopted as part of the report. But this separate vote request was made with the purpose of singling out the prohibition of bottom trawling inside protected areas in order to “kill” it. Another Plenary amendment has been proposed by a group of MEPs, led by French Renew MEP Pierre Karleskind, which would eviscerate the text of any meaning. At a time of an unprecedented climatic crisis and biodiversity  collapse, voting to defend a ban on the most destructive fishing in our most sensitive ocean areas should be a “no brainer” for MEPs, but this does not take into account the bonds between MEPs and industrial fishing lobbies.

This vote will be a crash test of the European Parliament’s capacity to free itself from the influence of corporate lobbies with short-sighted interests. Although an own initiative report does not result in legally-binding legislation, the vote will send an important political signal that can reinforce the European Commission’s will to tackle the issue of poorly – if at all – “protected” areas of European waters and of the dreadful impacts of destructive fisheries on marine biodiversity and the seabed.

NGOs and citizens have asked MEPs to support the text as voted in the Development and Fisheries committees, and to thus follow Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expert recommendations in order to act with determination for our common future. Last year, more than 150,000 EU citizens called on the EU to ban bottom-trawling, starting immediately in all marine protected areas. Expectations are high and the vote will be closely followed. 

Références

[1] Own-initiative report 2021/2188(INI) by the Portuguese Socialist MEP Isabel Carvalhais: “Toward a sustainable blue economy in the EU: the role of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors ».

El Conocimiento Ecológico Local de los Pescadores permite detectar la presencia de Ecosistemas Marinos Vulnerables en la zona marítima frente al Delta del Ebro

Una investigación publicada recientemente muestra como la experiencia de los pescadores locales puede contribuir a un mejor conocimiento de los recursos marinos, y así contribuir a establecer mejores medidas de gestión y de protección.

Barcelona, 24 de marzo de 2022

Una investigación científica publicada recientemente en la revista Fisheries Research ha llevado a cabo entrevistas a numerosos pescadores que faenan en la zona marítima frente al Delta del Ebro, con el fin de evaluar la percepción de los pescadores con respecto al estado de los recursos marinos demersales, es decir, sobre el estado de las especies que viven en el fondo marino.

El estudio ha analizado la percepción de los pescadores de arrastre de fondo desde los años 80 hasta la actualidad en la zona marítima frente al Delta del Ebro. Ha identificado áreas de pesca históricas donde especies y Ecosistemas Marinos Vulnerables -como el coral bambú y plumas marinas-, todavía están presentes. Se trata de una información determinante para poder establecer medidas de gestión tales como Zonas de Recuperación Pesquera.

Concretamente, el estudio abarca la zona comprendida entre Cap de Salou (Tarragona) y Castellón de la Plana (Castellón), en un área marina que cubre una extensión de unos 7.000 km2 y presenta un rango de profundidad de 40 a 900 metros.

Cambios importantes en la abundancia de especies

Esta metodología, también conocida como Conocimiento Ecológico Local, ha demostrado que puede contribuir sustancialmente a mejorar la información histórica disponible y conocer la tendencia de especies de gran interés comercial para la flota, en este caso para la flota de arrastre de fondo cercana al Delta del Ebro, cuyas especies objetivo son la merluza, los salmonetes, los langostinos, o las galeras, y sobre las cuales no siempre existen evaluaciones científicas cuantitativas sobre el estado de los recursos explotados.

La investigación, en la que han colaborado investigadores de la Fundación ENT y de MedReAct, y que ha contado con la participación de investigadores del Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICM-CSIC), ha documentado cambios importantes en la abundancia de especies. Por ejemplo, desde la década de los 80 hasta la actualidad la galera y el salmonete de fango han sido las dos especies que más han aumentado, mientras que la merluza y la caballa han sido las que más han disminuido. Un dato que concuerda con las evaluaciones científicas disponibles.

Presencia significativa de especies vulnerables

En este trabajo, y mediante el uso de la percepción de los pescadores, el estudio ha podido determinar que una zona marítima frente al Delta del Ebro destaca sobre el resto (denominada Área 4 en el estudio) por mostrar una aparente relevancia en cuanto a la presencia de Ecosistemas Marinos Vulnerables, tanto en el pasado como en la actualidad. Concretamente, los pescadores entrevistados han destacado que aunque se ha reducido notablemente la captura incidental de especies de corales, en esta área todavía se detecta una presencia significativa de varias de estas especies vulnerables, en especial de plumas de mar y en menor medida de otros corales como el coral bambú.

Una herramienta nueva para poder establecer medidas de gestión y protección

Además de documentar cambios de las especies comerciales más comunes, el estudio también ha analizado información sobre especies generadoras de hábitat -tales como corales, esponjas y plumas marinas- consideradas especies clave e indicadoras de Ecosistemas Marinos Vulnerables. Al ser vulnerables a la acción humana, particularmente a las pesquerías de fondo, conocer su presencia y distribución (presente y pasada) permite poder proponer medidas de gestión y de protección de estas especies.

Marta Coll, investigadora del ICM-CSIC y una de las autoras del estudio, considera que “la falta de información biológica y ecológica perjudica la gestión de las pesquerías y la implementación de la gestión basada en el ecosistema”. “Explorar el uso del Conocimiento Ecológico Local de los pescadores como fuente adicional de datos, con el fin de reducir la brecha de conocimiento científico existente, nos ha permitido aumentar el conocimiento sobre el estado y la distribución espacial de especies y ecosistemas vulnerables que se deberían proteger”.  

Debido a estos hallazgos, Lydia Chaparro, Ecóloga marina de la Fundación ENT considera que “la zona marítima en el exterior del Delta del Ebro podría ser una de las mejores candidatas para convertirse en una nueva Zona de Restricción Pesquera en el Mediterráneo debido a la gran riqueza ecológica que presenta”“Por ello, si se han documentado la presencia de una zona con especies vulnerables que necesitan protección, el Gobierno debería establecer sin demora medidas urgentes de gestión pesquera en la zona más allá de las medidas ya existentes”.

En esta misma línea la investigación menciona un caso de éxito en el Mar Adriático, donde el establecimiento de una Zona de Restricción Pesquera conocida como Jabuka/Pomo Pit ha demostrado que proteger zonas vulnerables de la actividad pesquera ha permitido en pocos años recuperar la biomasa de especies comerciales agotadas. Lo que ha conllevado beneficios ambientales, pero también beneficios para los propios pescadores que operan en las proximidades del área protegida.

La consecución del Objetivo “30×30” de la UE, que tiene como meta proteger de forma eficaz el 30% de las zonas marinas para el año 2030, y de cómo el establecimiento de Zonas de Restricción Pesquera pueden contribuir efectivamente a cumplir con dicho objetivo, será muy probablemente uno de los temas tratados durante la “Monaco Ocean Week” que tiene lugar esta semana en el Principado de Mónaco. En esta ocasión, la comunidad científica, ONG, gestores y demás participantes debatirán los últimos hallazgos y medidas entorno la conservación del océano.

NO MORE PUBLIC SUBSIDIES TO FUND OVERFISHING AND BIODIVERSITY DESTRUCTION

Joint statement of WWF, Oceana, MedReAct, and Environmental Justice Foundation

Over the past week, fuel has doubled in price. Transportation, agriculture, and fisheries appear to be among the most impacted sectors from this cost increase. In several EU countries, including Italy, Spain, France and Greece, fishers across the whole fishing sector are calling for the government to mitigate the fuel price increase so that their business can remain viable. To date, European fishing fleets have benefited from public sector’ subsidies (tax reduction) that cut fuel prices by 20-50%. The current situation raises the question of the business viability and profitability of some European fleets (e.g., trawlers). If their profitability is voided by a doubling in gas prices1, which are already heavily subsidized, it raises fundamental questions about their economic and ecological sustainability and whether they should be in business at all.

A recent analysis (in publication)- coordinated by WWF – demonstrates that the trawl sector is heavily dependent on “capacity enhancing” subsidies, (sensu Sumaila et al. (2019a), and not just for fuel. In the previous European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the category of trawl vessels larger than 12 metres in length, received more than 70% of the total European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) budget provided to fishing vessels in the EU Mediterranean.

This week, a large portion of the fleet remained in port as they raised concerns for the future of their business. Governments and the European Commission are at work to develop aid packages. However, before considering additional aid we advocate that the state of the resources they exploit is carefully considered. The Mediterranean is one of the most overfished seas in the world, with 87%2 of the stocks being overfished in European Mediterranean waters. When taking a closer look at the target resources of the heavily subsidised trawl fleet, it is apparent that their efforts are concentrated on several overfished stocks. For example3: in the French and Spanish Western Mediterranean hake is currently fished at a rate which is nearly 6 times the sustainable level (F/Fmsy=5,58); blue and red shrimps in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea are currently fished at a rate that is nearly 4 times the sustainable level (F/Fmsy=3,72); in the Adriatic, sardines are currently fished at a rate that is more than 3 times the sustainable level (F/Fmsy=3,23) while anchovies exploitation rate is nearly twice the sustainable level (F/Fmsy=1,69).

Stepping back from the current outcry, it is important to remember how countries have committed to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic (during which aid packages were approved for the fishing industry), reduce carbon emissions, and advance on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, including the removal of harmful subsidies (SDG 14.6).

WTO negotiations on harmful subsidies, originally planned in January 2022 have now been postponed until June. In the EU, after months of negotiations, institutions agreed to strengthen the EU’s next Environment Action Programme yet they missed a critical opportunity to set an end date for public finance for fossil fuels and environmentally harmful activities, despite EU leaders having repeatedly stated their intention to phase such finance out. In the EU, over €52 billion of taxpayers’ money goes annually to fossil fuels alone.

When considering additional aid packages for the fishing industry, which may be certainly beneficial for certain fleets, we recommend that European Institutions and national governments refrain from the use of public funding for harmful subsidies. This includes those that lower the cost of fuel, support destructive fishing and overcapacity with vessel construction in addition to those that provide price support to keep market prices artificially high. These subsidies contribute to the exploitation of overfished stocks, and support harmful fishing practices causing the loss of marine habitats and species. We urge the European Union to champion the discussion at the WTO on harmful subsidies, with the intent to curb overfishing, biodiversity degradation, CO2 emissions, and to safeguard the livelihood of small fisheries.

We renew our concerns on the state of Mediterranean overfished stocks. The target set by the Common Fishery Policy to achieve MSY by 2020 has been largely missed and the European Commission should be applying the precautionary approach as stated by Article 2 of the CFP4. Fuel subsidies are adding pressure on fish stocks and marine ecosystems by funding vessels which would not be sustained otherwise. Instead the precautionary approach would require a substantial decrease of the fishing effort and fleet capacity5 through measures aimed at the recovery of the once rich marine biodiversity of the Mediterranean region.

1 For example: in Italy subsidized fuel went from € 0,4 to 0.96 in the last year

2 The State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries, GFCM 2020

3 Data from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) stock assessment database and FAO-GFCM SOMFI 2020.

4 Article 2(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy.

5    https://www.wwfmmi.org/newsroom/latest_news/?uNewsID=5434466

Spain falls short in protecting Mediterranean marine ecosystems

15th December  – Yesterday, Spain introduced new temporary and permanent fishing closures within the framework of the Multiannual Management Plan for Demersal Fisheries in the Mediterranean, to contribute to the recovery of the main demersal fish stocks.

However, according to Fundación ENT and MedReAct, the new closures are insufficient and must be urgently strengthened. Spain must instead promote the establishment of larger areas permanently closed to fishing and located in sites with greater ecological value.

Most of the newly introduced closures are too small, badly placed and do not provide permanent protection, which is the only measure that allows a real recovery of the marine ecosystem. Consequently, they will not contribute significantly to improving the state of fish stocks. Therefore, Fundación ENT and MedReAct urge Spain to take urgent measures to reinforce the current measure, without wasting the potential that fishing closures can have for marine recovery.

According to FAO, the Mediterranean Sea is the region of the world with the highest rate of overfishing. While this overexploitation continues, the destructive impact of fishing gears  has seriously damaged the marine ecosystems and the fish populations that depend on it.

Yet, the situation can be reversed if appropriate measures are taken.One with the greatest potential is the establishment of  marine recovery areas, where fishing activities are not allowed and where the ecosystem can flourish while fish populations and habitats recover.

Hundreds of permanent closed areas have been created worldwide. The Mediterranean is no exception and has some successful examples, such as the Jabuka / Pomo Pit Fisheries Restricted Area  (FRA) in the central Adriatic Sea.

“Permanent closures are an essential tool for marine recovery” says Miquel Ortega, marine coordinator of ​​Fundación ENT. “They contribute to objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy 2030, which stipulates that 30% of the EU marine waters must be protected, 10% of which with strict protection. What Spain has just introduced falls short of these objectives. Spain must prioritize the long-term protection of marine areas with the highest ecological value, such as those found in the  Ebro Delta.”

For more information see here.

France, Spain and Italy must stop playing Russian roulette with their Mediterranean fisheries, and instead abide by EU law they committed to

Brussels – Ahead of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AgriFish) on 12 and 13 December 2021, MedReAct, Ecologistas en Acción, Legambiente, Fundació ENT, Oceana, Seas At Risk, SNPN, and WWF are extremely concerned that France, Spain and Italy are playing political games that risk burying all hopes to save Western Mediterranean fisheries. 

The Western Mediterranean is plagued by unacceptable overfishing – 2.71 times higher than sustainable levels, and well-above the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) limit. The crisis can only be solved by following science and adopting drastic measures to tackle overfishing and protect key habitats that support fish stock recovery. This requires several combined actions:  fishing effort reduction paired with properly allocated catch limits; improved selectivity measures to stop catching juvenile fish (such as grids, T90 and bigger mesh size of the cod end); and spatial measures, namely the creation of permanent fisheries closures to protect sensitive habitats like nurseries and spawning grounds of fish stocks. Overall, a clear plan for a transition of the trawling sector is needed.

The NGOs provided the following statement: “In 2019, Spain, France and Italy committed to deliver sustainable fisheries in the Western Mediterranean by 2025, delaying by five years the sustainability obligation set by the CFP for 2020. Today, scientists are raising the alarm: none of the 2022 management scenarios evaluated will end overfishing by 2025 unless those same countries adopt drastic reductions in fishing effort. To prevent France, Italy and Spain from continuing to jeopardize the future of Mediterranean fisheries and the thousands of EU citizens that rely on it for their livelihoods, we call on the European Commission to act with emergency measures, before it’s too late”. 

NGOs are sensitive to the potential socio-economic impact of these measures. Implementation at national level should include transition support plans, with clear incentives for best environmental and social practices (as requested by Article 17 of the CFP). These plans should be attached to the implementation of the Western Mediterranean Multiannual plan (MAP), contributing to a modern management plan that adopts bio-economic tools in the decision-making processes to minimize the socio-economic impact while meeting the MAP’s objectives.

The “Landing obligation” introduced by the CFP has not been enforced, selectivity measures have not been adopted, too few and too small nursery areas have been closed to fishing, and fishing effort is still too high. This is stated not only by environmental groups, but by scientists too, including the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), the fisheries scientific body of the European Commission. 

Time is ticking and fish stock collapse may soon become a stark reality in the Mediterranean. In certain areas, European hake is fished at more than 8 times the sustainable levels, red mullet and blue and red shrimp over 6 times, resulting in catches shrinking and fishers being pushed into economic turmoil. 

The 2021 December AgriFish EU Council is the last opportunity to show political leadership by adhering to the Western Mediterranean Multiannual Plan adopted in 2019. 

It would have been a difficult moment if we did not know what to do. But proven solutions exist: drastic fishing effort reduction combined with enforcement, wide-scale adoption of selectivity, and the introduction of a larger network of fisheries closures, coupled with transitional support to coastal communities. 

France, Spain and Italy cannot ignore science any longer, undermine the credibility of the CFP and of the EU, and drive Western Mediterranean fish stocks, and the future of the fishing communities that rely on them, to a disastrous collapse. 

Italian version: Francia, Spagna e Italia smettano di giocare alla roulette russa con le attività di pesca nel Mediterraneo e rispettino i loro impegni

French version: Plutôt que de jouer à la roulette russe avec leurs pêcheries méditerranéennes, l’Espagne la France et l’Italie feraient bien mieux de respecter la réglementation européenne à l’adoption de laquelle elles ont contribué

Spanish version: Francia, España e Italia deben dejar de jugar a la ruleta rusa con las pesquerías mediterráneas y cumplir con la legislación de la UE con la que se comprometieron

100 RICERCATORI RIVOLGONO UN APPELLO AL GOVERNO PER L’ISTITUZIONE DI UNA RISERVA MARINA NEL CANALE DI OTRANTO


Roma, 16 marzo 2021- 100 ricercatori facenti capo a 37 Università e Centri di ricerca italiani e esteri hanno firmato un appello indirizzato al governo italiano per sostenere urgentemente l’istituzione di una riserva marina nel canale di Otranto, tra Italia e Albania.  L’obiettivo è il recupero di stock ittici in grave sofferenza, la conservazione di ecosistemi marini vulnerabili e il ripopolamento dell’Adriatico.  La proposta avanzata da MedReAct e dall’Adriatic Recovery Project alla Commissione Generale per la pesca nel Mediterraneo (CGPM), prevede la chiusura alla pesca di fondo di una zona ricca di habitat sensibili e specie vulnerabili e una riduzione dello sforzo di pesca nelle aree limitrofe.

Il degrado degli ecosistemi marini e l’eccessivo sfruttamento delle risorse ittiche è una preoccupazione crescente nel Mediterraneo, in particolare in Adriatico dove la pesca industriale è praticata con grande intensità alterando gli habitat dei fondali e impoverendo gli stock ittici.

Basti pensare che proprio all’Adriatico spetta il triste primato della più alta intensità di pesca a strascico al mondo, con il risultato che vede oggi più del 90% delle risorse in via di esaurimento e una diminuzione del 70% di biomassa pescata rispetto a 35 anni fa.

Per contrastare questo declino nel 2017 la Commissione Generale per la Pesca del Mediterraneo (CGPM) ha istituito una riserva marina nella Fossa di Pomo in centro Adriatico. Da allora si è registrata nell’area una ripresa sorprendente della biomassa di scampi,  naselli ed altre specie. Il successo ottenuto proteggendo solo  l’1% dell’Adriatico, ha sollevando grande interesse da parte della comunità internazionale quale esempio di buona pratica e modello replicabile in altre aree del bacino. 

“I risultati della chiusura Fossa di Pomo – ha dichiarato  Domitilla Senni di MedReAct – dimostrano come l’istituzione di riserve marine o zone di restrizione alla pesca  possano contribuire al recupero della risorse ittiche e della biodiversità marina. Queste misure andrebbero replicate anche nell’Adriaco meridionale sostenendo il futuro di una pesca più responsabile e sostenibile”.

La zona identificata nel Canale di Otranto ospita importanti aree di nursery di specie commerciali come il gambero rosa, il nasello, lo scampo, il gambero rosso, il gattuccio boccanera e una varietà di habitat vulnerabili, tra cui comunità di coralli profondi, spugne, corallo bambù e pennatule. Tali specie creano eterogeneità e stabilità negli ambienti di fondo, aumentando la biodiversità e fornendo un importante rifugio a pesci e invertebrati, anche di valore commerciale. Inoltre, gli habitat di coralli profondi agiscono come aree di riproduzione permettendo il rinnovamento di specie ittiche sovrasfruttate e svolgendo un ruolo fondamentale negli ecosistemi dell’Adriatico.  

Secondo un recente studio proteggere solo il 5% di mare dalla pesca intensiva produrrebbe un aumento del 25% degli stock su scala globale.

Per questo nel 2018 è stata presentata alla CGPM una proposta per l’istituzione di una seconda FRA in Adriatico, nel Canale di Otranto, sulla quale il governo italiano però ancora non si è espresso.

“Rafforzare la tutela di aree marine particolarmente significative per la biodiversità va nella direzione di fermare la drammatica perdita di specie e habitat che sta minacciando il nostro mare e, al contempo, garantire la ricostituzione di stock ittici importanti dal punto di vista commerciale – ha dichiarato Federica Barbera, dell’Ufficio aree protette e biodiversità di Legambiente – “La nuova Strategia europea della biodiversità al 2030 sottolinea tra gli obiettivi chiave quello di incrementare le aree protette e le zone di tutela integrale e per questo chiediamo al ministro Patuanelli di ascoltare l’appello di tanti scienziati sostenendo l’istituzione dell’area di restrizione alla pesca nel Canale di Otranto per ripopolare il mare e garantire un futuro alla pesca”.

Appello al governo per il recupero dell’Adriatico – FRA di Otranto

Il degrado degli ecosistemi marini e l’eccessivo sfruttamento delle risorse ittiche è una preoccupazione crescente nel Mediterraneo, in particolare in Adriatico, dove la pesca a strascico -particolarmente distruttiva per gli ecosistemi marini bentonici – è praticata con grande intensità alterando gli habitat dei fondali e impoverendo gli stock ittici.

Per contrastare il declino dell’Adriatico, nel 2017 la Commissione Generale per la Pesca del Mediterraneo (CGPM) ha istituito una Zona di Restrizione alla Pesca (Fisheries Restricted Area, FRA) nella Fossa di Pomo. Da allora si è registrata nella zona una ripresa sorprendente della biomassa di scampi e naselli, più che raddoppiata dall’istituzione della FRA . L’aumento di densità e abbondanza di giovanili di nasello, scampo e gambero rosa è stato osservato non solo all’interno della FRA – chiusa alla pesca di fondo – ma anche nelle aree adiacenti, suggerendo l’effetto spillover delle misure di tutela .

Il successo della FRA di Pomo sta sollevando grande interesse da parte della comunità internazionale quale esempio di best practice e modello replicabile in altre aree del bacino.

Nel 2018, è stata presentata alla CGPM una proposta per l’istituzione di una seconda FRA in Adriatico, nel Canale di Otranto, sulla quale il governo ancora non si è espresso.

La proposta prevede la chiusura di una zona ricca di habitat sensibili e una riduzione dello sforzo di pesca nelle aree limitrofe. L’area ospita infatti importanti aree di nursery di specie come il gambero rosa, il nasello, lo scampo, il gambero rosso, il gattuccio boccanera e una varietà di habitat vulnerabili, tra cui comunità di coralli profondi, spugne, corallo bambù e pennatule. Tali specie creano eterogeneità e stabilità negli ambienti di fondo, aumentando la biodiversità e fornendo un importante rifugio a pesci e invertebrati, anche di valore commerciale. Inoltre, gli habitat a Isidella elongata e le comunità di coralli profondi agiscono come aree di riproduzione permettendo il rinnovamento di specie ittiche sovrasfruttate, svolgendo un ruolo fondamentale negli ecosistemi dell’Adriatico.

Chiediamo pertanto al governo italiano di intervenire urgentemente sostenendo l’istituzione della FRA di Otranto, contribuendo così al recupero di stock ittici in grave sofferenza, alla conservazione di ecosistemi marini vulnerabili e al ripopolamento dell’Adriatico.

Pourquoi il faut fermer la FRA du golfe du Lion

Dix ONG interpellent les trois ministres en charge de l’environnement marin

Paris le 03 décembre 2020. Dix ONG, préoccupées par l’état du Golfe du Lion, demandent , sous la forme d’une lettre ouverte, aux trois ministères français en charge de l’environnement marin d’interdire de manière permanente tous types de pêche de fond dans la FRA du golfe du Lion et d’y délimiter une zone tampon où l’effort de pêche sera strictement encadré et contrôlé.

Depuis toujours, le golfe du Lion est une zone de pêche très convoitée par les flottes française et espagnole, ce qui a largement contribué à la dégradation considérable de la biodiversité observée ces 20 dernières années. La principale espèce victime de cette surexploitation est le merlu dont la sauvegarde était pourtant l’objectif premier de la mise en place par la Commission Générale des Pêches de Méditerranée (CGPM) de la zone de restriction des activités de pêche (Fisheries Restricted Areas, FRA), un outil essentiel pour permettre le rétablissement des populations de poissons et la protection d’écosystèmes marins vulnérables. 

Golfe du Lion : un échec patent

Depuis 2005, neuf FRA ont été instaurées en Méditerranée. Celle du golfe du Lion a été créée en 2009 dans le but de préserver les reproducteurs de merlu et d’autres espèces. Elle est unanimement considérée comme un échec pour une raison très simple : la CGPM y a autorisé le maintien de l’effort de pêche au niveau de celui de 2008. 

« Le merlu est maintenant au bord de l’effondrement sur tout le golfe du Lion, avec un taux de mortalité par pêche 15 fois supérieur au rendement maximal durable[1], le seuil considéré par la réglementation européenne comme durable  et le volume de captures dépasse de 100 % la biomasse du stock reproducteur» souligne Stéphan Beaucher, représentant de MedReAct.

Jabuka Pomo pit : une réussite éclatante

À l’opposé, Jabuka/Pomo pit, en mer Adriatique, une zone qui était surexploitée de longue date par les chalutiers de fond, est reconnue comme un modèle de réussite. La FRA y a été créée en 2017 ; elle comprend une réserve intégrale où la pêche de fond est interdite et une zone tampon dans laquelle l’effort de pêche a été réduit de moitié. Dix-huit mois après sa mise en place, les résultats étaient déjà probants :

  • La biomasse du merlu s’y est multipliée par 2,5 et celle de la langoustine a doublé ;
  • La FRA bénéficie d’un large soutien de la part des pêcheurs.[2]

Les enjeux de la fermeture de la FRA du golfe du Lion

En 2019, l’effort dans la FRA se résumait à 10 bateaux totalisant 170 jours de présence. Ces chiffres sont à comparer avec les 180 bateaux qui totalisaient plus de 10 000 jours/an sur le site de Jabuka Pomo pit avant la création de la FRA. Ces chiffres indiquent clairement que l’argument socio-économique qui sert systématiquement ou presque de prétexte pour ne pas mettre en œuvre des mesures de préservation ne tient pas. Loin de constituer un sacrifice, la fermeture de la FRA aux engins de fond est un investissement qui offre des retours à court, moyen et long terme, tant en matière d’augmentation de la biomasse, garante d’un avenir pour la pêche durable, que de régénération de la biodiversité marine, condition sine qua non de la résilience des océans et de leur capacité à stocker le carbone. »

« Plusieurs agendas convergent ; la Cour des Comptes européenne vient de publier un rapport[3] qui confirme en tout point les inquiétudes que l’on peut nourrir à l’égard des écosystèmes marins méditerranéens et parallèlement la Commission européenne travaille à l’élaboration des objectifs « biodiversité 30*30 », qui consistent à protéger 30% de la superficie terrestre à l’horizon 2030.  À l’heure où la France vient de doter son arsenal juridique du délit d’écocide, n’attendons pas que l’un des dix bateaux encore autorisés à pêcher sur la zone y capture le dernier merlu ! » a conclu Stéphan Beaucher.


[1]   Le rendement maximal durable est le seuil considéré comme durable  par la réglementation européenne.

[2] L’enquête menée par MedReAct (entretiens semi-directifs avec des pêcheurs italiens et croates) montre que 89% d’entre eux estiment que la FRA va améliorer la situation; 53% témoignent de la hausse des captures (de 60% en moyenne) et 42% ont constaté une augmentation de la taille moyenne des prises.

[3] Rapport spécial : « Milieu marin: l’UE offre une protection étendue, mais superficielle », Novembre 2020.

Image copyright – Laure Modesti-Jubin – 2020

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