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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.

NGOs_letter_Vella_Jabuka-Pomo FINAL

 

 

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

 

FINALMENTE LA FOSSA DI POMO CHIUSA ALLO STRASCICO. FONDAMENTALE IL RUOLO DELL’ADRIATIC RECOVERY PROJECT.

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Roma, 17 maggio 2017 – MedReAct e l’Adriactic Recovery Project plaudono alla decisione della Croazia di chiudere alla pesca demersale e a quella dei piccoli pelagici parte delle acque internazionali della Fossa di Pomo, una delle aree più importanti dell’Adriatico per la riproduzione e il recupero del nasello e degli scampi e uno dei rari ecosistemi di profondità del Mediterraneo. La decisione annunciata oggi a Lubiana, al Comitato Scientifico (SAC) della Commissione per la Pesca in Mediterraneo (CGPM), segna un risultato importante per il recupero degli stock e degli ecosistemi marini dell’Adriatico, un bacino di mare fortemente impattato dalla pesca a strascico, responsabile, quest’ultima, di aver alterato gli ecosistemi di fondo, impoverito la biodiversità e decimato gli stock ittici. Lo scorso febbraio Medreact e l’Adriatic Recovery Project avevano presentato al CGPM una proposta per l’istituzione di una Zona di Restrizione alla Pesca (Fishery Restricted Area) nella Fossa di Pomo, per la chiusura alla pesca demersale come lo strascico e i palangari. La proposta ha ricevuto oggi l’avvallo del SAC e verrà trasmessa alla Conferenza del CGPM che si svolgerà il prossimo ottobre in Montenegro. “Attendiamo ora – ha dichiarato Domitilla Senni di MedReAct – un’iniziativa analoga da parte del nostro ministero che rispecchi le stesse misure adottate dalla Croazia, incluso il divieto per la pesca ai piccoli pelagici, e che garantisca la piena tutela delle nursery e degli ecosistemi marini vulnerabili presenti nella zona. In Adriatico la pesca produce il 50% di tutti i prodotti ittici italiani ma gli sbarchi hanno avuto un crollo del 21% dal 2007 al 2015. In particolare il nasello registra un tasso di sovrasfruttamento cinque volte superiore ai limiti di sostenibilità, nonostante le catture si siano quasi dimezzate tra il 2006 e il 2014. Ancora peggio per gli scampi le cui catture da parte della flotta italiana sono crollate del 54% dal 2009 al 2014. Con l’obiettivo di tutelare l’Adriatico è nata l’alleanza internazionale Adriatic Recovery Project, che riunisce organizzazioni ambientaliste ed enti di ricerca intorno all’obiettivo di preservare gli ecosistemi marini vulnerabili e gli habitats essenziali per le specie ittiche dell’Adriatico.

L’Adriatic Recovery Project  è un progetto coordinato da MedReAct  in collaborazione con Legambiente, Marevivo, l’Università di Stanford e il Politecnico delle Marche.

Link to download the English press release.

The nine priority areas to restock the Mediterranean

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Urgent call for action on the eve of the Ministerial Conference on Mediterranean Fisheries

Malta, 28 March 2017. “There are at least nine areas in the Mediterranean that need protection as a matter of priority in order to safeguard marine ecosystems and contribute to the recovery of fish stocks, starting with the central Adriatic where Italy and Croazia must soon state their positions regarding the protection of the Jakuba/Pomo Pit.” This is the call of MedReAct on the eve of the Ministerial Conference on Mediterranean Fisheries organised by the European Commission, taking place in Malta 29 and 30 March 2017. This area, which lies between Italy and Croatia, reaches a maximum depth of 200-260 metres, and has unique geomorphological and oceanographic features. It suffers severe impacts from bottom trawling which over the years has greatly reduced Adriatic fish stocks. This fishing method represents a serious threat to one of the most important nursery and spawning zones for European hake and Norway lobster (for more details see the attached briefing document). A proposal for its protection is currently being examined by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean which will express its position in the coming months.

The Malta conference, in which sixteen ministers from Mediterranean countries will participate, will conclude with the signing of the Malta MedFish4Ever declaration, committing Mediterranean countries to protect vulnerable species and sensitive habitats and to establish fisheries restricted zones and marine protected areas. By 2020 the coastal states must achieve protection of 10% of the Mediterranean Sea, in line with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and the Convention on Biological Diversity. “Protection of the Jakuba Pomo Pit represents an important testing ground on which to verify the level of political will to restore vulnerable marine areas and fish stocks and to save the future of Adriatic fisheries,” declared MedReAct spokesperson Domitilla Senni. “We call on Italy and Croatia to make a public commitment at the Malta Ministerial Conference to protect this area from bottom trawling.”

In addition to the Pomo Pit, MedReAct draws attention to eight other priority areas requiring protection measures:

  1. Northern Sicilian Seamounts
  2. Gulf of Lion Slope
  3. Alicante Canyon
  4. Balearic Seamounts
  5. Alboran Sea Seamounts
  6. Western Sardinia Canyons
  7. Southern Ligurian Seamounts
  8. Aegean Sea – the Thracian Sea

Each of these areas is described below.

PRIORITY AREAS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA

  1. Northern Sicilian Seamounts. Located off the northwest coast of Sicily, the area includes two seamounts each of about 1000 meters, called Aceste and Drepano, as well as the Ustica ridge and escarpment. Aceste, characterized by the presence of black corals (Antipatharia) and scleractinians (Dendrophyllia cornigera), is an area of high importance for elasmobranchs, especially sharks, and in particular the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) which is relatively numerous in this area, and longnose spurdog (Squalus blainvillei) which is abundant. The southernmost area is located at the entrance to the Strait of Sicily, an essential migratory zone in the Mediterranean, considered a vulnerable area for small pelagic species.
  1. Adriatic Sea Jabuka/Pomo Pit. The area, situated in the central Adriatic at a maximum depth of 200-260m, presents unique geomorphological and oceanographic features. In addition to playing an important role in the overall oceanographic dynamics of the entire Adriatic Sea, it is considered an Essential Fish Habitat, the only one in the central Adriatic, mostly for the reproduction and growth of important Adriatic demersal species, especially European hake (Merluccius merluccius). This area hosts the largest population of Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) and is important especially for juveniles at depths below 200m. It is also a nursery zone for black-bellied angler (Lophius budegassa) and horned octopus (Eledone cirrhosa). Based on an available scientific data it is a high density area for giant devil ray (Mobula mobular) which is an endemic species. The Pit could function as a favorable environment for some key life history stages of the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus), which is critically endangered. Regarding benthic species, several types of corals can be found (Scleractinia, Actiniaria). Although it covers less than 10 percent of the total surface of the Adriatic Sea, this area is one of the most important fishing grounds in the Adriatic for bottom trawling, which puts the fish resources of the entire Adriatic under pressure. Fish populations are threatened by overfishing and high fishing pressure on juveniles. Currently, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean is considering a proposal to close the Jakuba/Pomo Pit to bottom trawling.
  1. Alicante Canyon. This is one of the largest submarine canyons in Spain’s eastern waters. Located in one of the areas with the widest continental shelf, it is part of one of the main rose shrimp (Parapenaeus longirostris) fishing areas, and thus is strongly impacted by shrimp bottom trawling. This area is an essential habitat and nursery area for the hake (Merluccius merluccius), together with the presence of other associated species (assemblages) in the canyon. Several cetacean species and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) are also present in the zone. The deepest part of the canyon, located on the eastern side, is a spawning ground for bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). It is considered a sensitive habitat for several elasmobranches species (Etmopterus spinax, Galeus melastomus and Scyliorhinus canicula).
  1. Balearic Seamounts. The area includes four different seamounts: Emile Baudot, Ses Olives, Ausías March and Bell Guyot. Essential habitats (bluefin tuna spawning ground) and sensitive habitats (bamboo coral gardens – Isidella elongata), maërl beds, coralligenous, gorgonian gardens (Muriceides lepida, Swiftia palida, Eunicella verrucosa, Villogorgia brevicoides, Viminella flagelum, Callogorgia verticilata) and black corals (Leiopathes glaberrima, Antipathes dichotoma) have been found. These organisms are particularly threatened by bottom trawling and long-line fishing. The presence of these species is often associated with the presence of commercial species (monkfish, hake, Norway lobster, lobster, octopus, red shrimp) which call for an adequate management. The area is also visited by pelagic species such as swordfish (Xiphias gladius), different dolphin species (Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems can also be found in the area.
  1. The Alboran Sea Seamounts. These seamounts, located between the European and African continents in the Alboran Sea, are scattered throughout the area along with the remains of an old volcano rising 15m above sea level, making part of a mountain ridge (Alboran Island). Along the canyons of the Alboran Sea are deep water corals. Hake is one of the most important target species for the trawl fisheries in this area; it is fished at excessively high levels in all trawling areas from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Cape of Gata, including the deep bottom fishing grounds surrounding Alboran Island. Juvenile hakes are caught in more shallow waters of about 50-300m depth, whereas adults are fished at depths of around 800 m, together with the Nephrops norvegicus fishery.
  1. Western Sardinia Canyons. The Catalano and Oristano submarine canyons are located off the east coast of Sardinia and together constitute the most important part of the canyon system surrounding the island. Submarine canyons usually are areas of interest for fisheries, in that they are highly productive zones due to their special hydrodynamics. In this case, fisheries for large pelagic species are present. In these zones one finds various cetacean species, such as Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), and striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), as well as large filter feeders such as basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and giant devil ray (Mobula mobular), which is relatively abundant in these areas. Moreover, at the edge of the slope there are lobster (Palinurus elephas) nurseries.
  1. Southern Ligurian Seamounts. This area includes a series of seamounts (Cialdi, Giglio and Jadul) north of the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the edge of the Pelagos Sanctuary. It is a high primary production area which supports many different shark and ray species (Cetorhinus maximus, Carcharhinus brachyurus, Scyliorhinus canicula, Galeus melastomus, Etmopterus spinax, Raja clavata, Raja asterias). For most of these species, this area serves as a nursery. The six-gilled shark (Hexanchus griseus) and thresher shark (Alopias spp) are also found in this area. In the Cialdi seamount the first submerged micritic limestones were discovered with Acesta excavata associated with corals and polychaetes, including Vermiliopsis monodiscus and Protula sp.
  1. Aegean Sea – The Thracian Sea. This is a disjunct area which covers two areas known as the Strymonian Gulf and the Samotraki Plateau. The Samotraki Plateau and the Strymonian Gulf are two demersal areas located in the north of the Aegean Sea, at a depth of around 180m, and are considered to be spawning grounds for hake. The area is an important fishing ground for bottom trawlers. These activities increase the mortality rates of juveniles of all species in the 180m isobath area of the Thracian Sea. As far as hake is concerned, the nursery and breeding grounds lie mainly in international waters in the Aegean and Thracian Seas.

Sources:

  • Scientific Information to Describe Areas Meeting Scientific Criteria for Mediterranean EBSAs, Oceana (2014). Link
  • Fisheries conservation and vulnerable ecosystems in the Mediterranean open seas, including the deep seas, de Juan, S. and Lleonart, J. eds. UNEP-MAP-RAC/SPA (2010). Link

Download the Press releases in Spanish, Italian and French.