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Press release

Spain falls short in protecting Mediterranean marine ecosystems

The new fishing closures introduced by Spain do not provide sufficient protection and must be urgently strengthened.

Reading time: 2 mins

15th of December 2021  – 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.”

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