Political lessons from early warnings: Marine finfish aquaculture conflicts in Europe

A new article written by Irmak Ertör and Miquel Ortega (MedReact) has been published in Marine Policy Journal: “Political lessons from early warnings: Marine finfish aquaculture conflicts in Europe”. Available in: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X14001924

aquicultura ENT

Abstract

The increasing demand for fish products and the stagnation of capture fisheries has promoted the growth of aquaculture globally, leading to a significant increase in socio-environmental conflicts mainly in relation with finfish aquaculture. Despite this significant global growth, the European aquaculture sector has instead experienced stagnation in the last decade. While European public authorities are currently encouraging the growth of the sector in order to change this trajectory, conflicts over finfish aquaculture have nonetheless already taken place in Europe. Based on peer-reviewed articles, gray literature, and 27 in-depth interviews, this article analyzes such conflicts in Europe in the last two decades by examining their localities, characteristics, the different actors involved, and the arguments of these actors. In this way, it explores the relation of these conflicts to environmental justice theory. Findings highlight that resistances to marine finfish aquaculture in Europe do not have a purely conservationist motivation, but rather entail a complex set of claims supported by various actors. These include demands for an even distribution of burdens and benefits resulting from marine finfish aquaculture, the right to be recognized as relevant stakeholders, an effective participation process where actors have access to adequate and transparent information and a real capacity to influence the decision-making, and to be able to maintain their social functioning. Based on this analysis, the article derives political lessons for future European marine policies.

New scientific study on Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean

A new scientific study on Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean has been published in Plos One.

In the article “Large-Scale Assessment of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Effects on Fish Assemblages” the researchers found that the level of protection greatly affected the fish communities. No-take MPAs showed the greatest recovery of fish communities, with recovery in intermediate-protection MPAs closer to that of unprotected areas. Furthermore, the numbers and total mass of apex predators, carnivores and detritivores were greater in no-take MPAs, compared with the other areas.

The estimated total weight of the fish per square metre of seabed and the numbers of different species were also significantly greater in the no-take MPAs compared with the other areas. In no-take zones, the average weight was approximately 84 g/m2 , compared with around 30 g/m2 in areas with intermediate protection and 10 g/m2 in non-enforced MPAs and unprotected areas.

Importantly, highly protected MPAs contained much greater densities of commercially valuable fish.The results showed that the numbers of invasive species or southern Mediterranean fish that thrive in warmer waters were similar in both MPAs and unprotected areas. Although this means that it is likely that MPAs do not protect against these threats, it also shows that the extra biodiversity found in MPAs was not driven by invasive or warm-water fish.

These results reinforce other studies of single MPAs, which have shown that highly protected areas offer the best chance for fish stocks and entire ecosystems to recover in the Mediterranean Sea.

ESAURITO IL PESCE DELL’UNIONE EUROPEA PER IL 2014

fish dependacy 2014Dall’11 luglio gli europei mangeranno pesce proveniente da mari extracomunitari.

Uno studio condotto dal New Economic Foundation (NEF) rivela il grado di dipendenza dei paesi dell’Unione Europea rispetto al pesce pescato fuori dalle acque comunitarie.

L’ultimo aggiornamento del rapporto di NEF “Fish Dependence” dimostra come, nonostante il potenziale produttivo dei mari dell’Unione europea, circa un pesce su due consumato nel continente provenga da mari lontani. Ormai gli europei pescano e consumano ben più di quanto i propri mari riescano a produrre, perdendo così ingenti benefici economici che deriverebbero dal recupero degli stock ittici.

Nel 2014, la dipendenza dall’estero di prodotti ittici inizia con tre settimane di anticipo rispetto al 2000, mentre dal 2008 si registra una lieve inversione di tendenza con una riduzione della dipendenza di sei giorni. Benche’ quest’ultimo trend sembrerebbe indicare che nelle nostre acque la pressione della pesca eccessiva si stia allentando, gli ultimi dati della Commissione europea sull’Atlantico nord orientale mostrano un aumento della sovrapesca nell’ultimo anno, mentre nel Mediterraneo, con il 95% degli stock sovrasfruttati siamo ormai in allarme rosso.

Cosi’, nonostante disponga di alcune tra le più vaste e ricche zone di pesca al mondo, l’UE continua a soffrire di pesanti carenze e inefficienze nella gestione della pesca.

“Gli stock europei rendono molto meno di quanto potrebbero se fossero sfruttati in maniera sostenibile ” – ha dichiarato Fernanda Balata della New Economic Foundation – “eppure i consumi in Europa rimangono alti. L’analisi della Commissione europea dimostra che per fermare la pesca eccessiva e’ ancora necessario il forte impegno di tutti i Paesi europei” . Il recupero degli stock e la rimodulazione dei consumi verso forme più sostenibili può produrre 100.000 nuovi posti di lavoro nel settore e un aumento delle catture in grado di sostenere i consumi annuali di pesce di 100 milioni di cittadini UE.

“Con la riforma della Politica Comune della Pesca dello scorso anno, i paesi dell’UE devono cogliere l’occasione per invertire la rotta e gestire gli ecosistemi marini nell’interesse di tutta la società, promuovendo piani di gestione della pesca che conducano ad un rapido ripopolamento degli stock nel Mediterraneo e nel resto dei mari europei. Il semestre italiano all’UE rappresenterà un banco di prova per verificare l’impegno dell’Italia in questa direzione” ha concluso Domitilla Senni di MedReAct.

El Mediterráneo necesita revertir urgentemente la situación de los stocks pesqueros

PalamósAyer (26 de Junio) la Comisión Europea publicó la “Comunicación  concerniente a las oportunidades de pesca para 2015 en el marco de la Política Pesquera Común”. En ella se describe el estado de los niveles de explotación pesqueros a partir de la mejor información científica disponible.

A continuación señalamos los aspectos principales referentes al Mediterráneo.

  • El volumen de información disponible ha aumentado significativamente, si en 2007 se disponía de información para 29 stocks, en 2012 la información ascendía a 104 stocks. No obstante aún es necesario aumentar el volumen de información disponible.
  • Los niveles de explotación actuales están en la mayoría de casos lejos del nivel correspondiente al Rendimiento Máximo Sostenible. Sobre 97 stocks, el 91% están sobreexplotados.
  • Para los stocks correspondientes a especies demersales el nivel de sobreexplotación es el siguiente (porcentaje en peso): Mediterráneo Occidental 99% (información basada en 48 stocks), Mediterráneo Central 99% (información basada en 23 stocks), Mediterráneo Este 100% (información basada en 4 stocks).
  • Para los stocks correspondientes a especies pelágicas el nivel de sobreexplotación es el siguiente (porcentaje en peso): Mediterráneo Occidental 58% (información basada en 14 stocks), Mediterráneo Central 100% (información basada en 4 stocks), Mediterráneo Este 100% (información basada en 4 stocks).

No es de extrañar pues que la Comisión Europea urja a los países a tomar medidas para revertir esta situación. Más aún cuando la tendencia es a aumentar los niveles de sobreexplotación y no a disminuirlos.

La recientemente aprobada Política Pesquera Común compromete a todos los países a conseguir un nivel de explotación por debajo del Rendimiento Máximo Sostenible en 2015 para todos los stocks, o como máximo en 2020 si no es posible antes.

Desde MedReAct queremos señalar que es posible revertir la situación actual en el Mediterráneo si existe voluntad política. Urgimos a los países a tomar las medidas de gestión y control pesquero necesarias para acabar con la grave sobreexplotación existente, que pone al mismo tiempo en riesgo la situación del ecosistema marino, y la viabilidad económica y social de la parte de los pescadores que quieren realizar su actividad en un marco legal y dejando para las generaciones venideras un ecosistema marino en buenas condiciones.

Cooperation between scientists and fishermen.

presentacio

Presentation delivered to GAP2 by Domitilla Senni on behalf of Archipelagos, presenting some good examples of cooperation between scientists & fishermen in the Mediterranean.

 

Mediterranean Recovery Action

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