Joint NGO Statement

Joint NGO Statement to the “High Level Seminar on the state of stocks in the Mediterranean and on the CFP approach”

Catania, 9-10 February 2016

Sin títuloMediterranean Sea fish stocks are in a dramatic situation with 96% of European assessed stocks in the region reported as overexploited [1]. The reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requires the EU to end overfishing by 2015 or at the latest by 2020 in order to ensure the recovery of fish stocks. To achieve this objective EU Mediterranean member states must address and reverse the political inaction that has characterized their fisheries management.

Considering that EU multiannual plans for the Mediterranean will only be adopted and implemented in the medium-term, immediate emergency and recovery measures are required.

On the occasion of the “High Level Seminar on the Status of the Stocks in the Mediterranean and on the CFP Approach”, Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, Fundació ENT, Greenpeace, Legambiente, Marevivo, MedReAct and Oceana call on the European Commission and Mediterranean EU member states to immediately adopt emergency measures to halt overfishing and recover stocks in the Mediterranean Sea, in order to prepare and introduce the following priority longer term actions:

  • Establish emergency measures and recovery plans for those EU stocks for which fishing mortality has reached unsustainable levels, such as for hake and small pelagic stocks;
  • Promote in the context of ICCAT a recovery plan for Mediterranean swordfish;
  • Set catch and effort limits based on the available scientific advice and ensure that exploitation rates are commensurate with recovering fish stock populations above MSY biomass levels;
  • Take appropriate measures to balance fishing capacity with the real fishing opportunities in order to stop overfishing by 2020 at the very latest;
  • Protect sensitive areas such as nurseries, spawning grounds and vulnerable marine ecosystems through spatial measures (no-take areas and marine reserves);
  • Strengthen control activities at sea and on land and implement dissuasive sanctions;
  • Establish or update the minimum conservation reference size (MCRS) for all EU commercial stocks, in line with the scientific advice and consistent with biological targets; and
  • Fully enforce the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) conditionality clause, according to which operators engaged in illegal activities would not have access to fisheries subsidies.

[1] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Concerning a consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2015 under the Common Fisheries Policy.

To download the pdf: Joint NGO Statement


State of commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean EU waters
State of commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean EU waters

On the eve of the High Level Seminar on Mediterranean Fish Stocks (Catania, 9-10 February 2016), organized by the European Commission (EC), MedReAct warns that Mediterranean stocks are running out of time. While a number of EU stocks in Northern Europe begin to show recovery signs, scientific advice on the Mediterranean paints a far breaker picture.  Despite success stories like the partial recovery of bluefin tuna, in the Mediterranean stocks are largely overfished and/or in a bad state, in particular stocks exploited mainly or exclusively by the EU fleets. According to the EC, of all stocks assessed in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas:

  • 96% of the EU stocks are overfished, with an average ratio of current fishing three times higher than fishing at sustainable level. For stocks such as hake, red mullet, black bellied anglerfish and blue whiting, current fishing mortality rates have been more than six times higher than sustainability levels (MSY) [1].
  • 91% of stocks shared with Third countries are exploited well above MSY, with an average ratio of current fishing two times higher than fishing at MSY level.

Under the reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), fishing limits must be set at sustainable/MSY levels no later than 2020. To comply with the CFP and stop overfishing, scientists are calling for the average reduction of fishing effort in the Mediterranean between 50% and 60%. However, even this may not be sufficient.

A new study [2] by Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller, from the Sea Around Us Project, “reconstructed” fish catch levels utilizing data missing from official sources, such as from recreational fisheries, discards, and illegal fishing, and found that between 1950 and 2010, Mediterranean catches were 50% higher than reported by FAO and are declining more strongly since the 1990s.

For some of the Mediterranean countries such as Italy, the study estimates that in the same time period “the total catch was 2.6 times the data presented by FAO” and that illegal unreported fishing represented 54% of all catches. For France, Mediterranean catches were calculated more than twice the official data, whereas for Greece the reconstructed catches were 57% larger than the nationally reported data for the same time period.

“This dramatic situation calls for immediate measures to combat illegal fishing, reduce fishing effort, introduce recovery plans for those species most at risk and close nursery and spawning areas to allow the sea to recover” said Domitilla Senni from MedReAct, an environmental organisation that promotes actions for the recovery of Mediterranean marine biodiversity.

[1] Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is the largest average yield, or catch, that can theoretically be taken from a species’ stock under constant environmental conditions without having an impact on the long-term stability of the population.

[2] Catch reconstructions reveal that global marine fisheries catches are higher than reported and declining. Daniel Pauly & Dirk Zeller. January 2016.

Sardine Fisheries: Resource Assessment and Social and Economic Situation

This study describes fisheries, stock status, ICES advice and management measures for the Northern and Southern sardine stocks in EU Atlantic waters. Information on sardine biology and ecology is provided for a better understanding of stock development. Social and economic dimensions are addressed for sardine fisheries in France, Spain and Portugal. The study provides recommendations to improve knowledge on the species and indicates management measures which might be considered for the sustainability of the fisheries.

Link: Sardine Fisheries: Resource Assessment and Social and Economic Situation

External author: Alexandra Silva and Ana Moreno (Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera - IPMA, I.P.)

Making the Common Fisheries Policy a reality means ending overfishing

Article from MedReAct at The Parliament Magazine Issue 421.

TheParliament_ENTIn a special issue of The Parliament Magazine dedicated to fisheries policy, together with the participation of some leading members of the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament, like Alain Cadec, Linnéa Engström, Gabriel Mato and Renata Briano, MedReAct/ENT has written an article that highlights the binding commitment of the Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing. This is a first step for restoring fish stocks, delivery a healthy marine environment, profitable fisheries, and viable coastal communities.

The article also highlights the importance of putting in place multi-annual plans (MAPs) for the different regions and fisheries in the EU, with the aim to move beyond the short-term decision-making for each year’s fishing limits, and achieve sustainable fishing for the long-term. As well as the need to establish fishing opportunities not exceeding scientific advice.


Sin títuloRoma, 17 aprile 2015. Dal 18 aprile, l’Italia termina le sue scorte nazionali di pesce e inizia a dipendere dalle importazioni dall’estero. In sostanza ci siamo già mangiati tutto il pesce che il nostro mare riesce a produrre e siamo costretti a importarlo dall’estero.

Il nuovo rapporto della New Economics Fundation (NEF) parla chiaro anche quest’anno: abbiamo pescato troppo e a causa della pesca eccessiva che ha inesorabilmente impoverito i nostri mari, le nostre scorte di pesce locale terminano sempre prima obbligando l’Europa ad importare da altri Paesi. E la data che segna la dipendenza dalle importazioni, arriva ogni anno con sempre maggior anticipo. Per l'UE nel suo insieme, la data da cui inizia a dipendere dalle importazioni per rifornire di pesce il proprio mercato pesce è ormai il 5 luglio indica che quasi la metà del pesce consumato nell'Unione europea proviene da acque non UE. L’ Italia invece già dal 18 aprile avrebbe esaurito il pesce pescato dalla propria flotta e si trova e dipendere dalle importazioni dall’estero.

“Nonostante l’Italia rappresenti la più grande flotta peschereccia del Mediterraneo e una delle più importanti a livello europeo, oltre il 60% del pesce che arriva sulle nostre tavole viene importato dall’estero. La pesca eccessiva sta svuotando i nostri mari e anziché correre ai ripari, cominciamo a mangiarci anche le risorse ittiche di altri Paesi”, dichiara Domitilla Senni, rappresentante dell’associazione MedReAct.

Il rapporto evidenzia quanto la domanda di pesce in un generale contesto di sovrasfruttamento delle risorse ittiche non sia sostenibile, sia dal punto di vista ambientale che economico e sociale. Al contrario, se le risorse fossero gestite in modo sostenibile e responsabile , le acque europee – potenzialmente molto produttive – potrebbero garantire l’approvvigionamento di pesce nel lungo periodo e conseguentemente produrre benefici occupazionali, economici e sociali.

“I segni di ripresa sono pochi e aree di pesca un tempo produttive oggi sono al collasso: nel Mediterraneo oltre il 90% delle risorse ittiche valutate risulta sovrasfruttato: l’unica via d’uscita da una situazione così drammatica è ridurre lo sforzo di pesca, introdurre zone di ripopolamento per garantire il recupero degli stock ittici in declino ed eliminare attrezzi da pesca non selettivi come le ferrettare” conclude Domitilla Senni.

Per scaricare il rapporto di nef:


La New Economics Foundation (NEF) ha stimato il grado di autosufficienza nel consumo di pesce raggiunto dall'UE nel suo insieme e per ciascuno dei suoi Stati membri. L'autosufficienza è definita come la capacità degli Stati membri di soddisfare la domanda di pesce proveniente dalle loro acque. Sulla base del consumo annuo di pesce di uno Stato membro, il rapporto della NEF calcola il giorno dell’anno quando uno Stato membro comincerà a dipendere da pesce importato, dopo aver esaurito quello pescato localmente.

Do you want to know more on fish stock recovery areas?

recoveryIn 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.

Mediterranean Recovery Action

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