Malta declaration on Med stocks
Agreement has been reached between eight EU nations and seven third countries on management of Mediterranean fish stocks over the next decade, setting out an ambitious programme of work designed to safeguard fish stocks.
The EU Commission, which has been central to the process, has described the targets as â€˜ambitious but realistic,â€™ further stating that the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration is a practical example of EU's successful neighbourhood policy
More than 300,000 persons are directly employed on fishing vessels in the Mediterranean, while many more indirect jobs depend on the sector. The Declaration was signed by Mediterranean ministerial representatives from both northern and southern coastlines, a development that the EU claims gives political ownership to an issue that was up to now managed at a technical level.
â€˜Today we are making history,â€™ announced Commissioner Karmenu Vella. â€˜In signing the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration, we are affirming our political will to deliver tangible action: on fisheries and other activities that have an impact on fisheries resources, on the blue economy, on social inclusion, and on solidarity between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. I hope that this declaration will come to be seen as a turning point â€“ for a bright future for fishermen, coastal communities and fishing resources alike.â€™
The signatory nations are EU member states Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus, as well as third countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Albania and Montenegro, plus the FAO, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, the European Parliament and the EU Mediterranean Advisory Council.
The declaration makes a series of commitments, including a pledge to ensure by 2020 that all key Mediterranean stocks are subject to adequate data collection and scientifically assessed on a regular basis. In particular small-scale fishermen are to acquire an increased role in collecting the necessary data to reinforce scientific knowledge.
It also sets out plans to establish multi-annual management plans for all key fisheries, and the European Commission has already initiated this process with its proposal for a multi-annual fisheries plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic.
There is a commitment to eliminate illegal fishing by 2020 by ensuring that all States have the legal framework and the necessary human and technical capabilities to meet their control and inspection responsibilities. The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) will lead the development of national control and sanctioning systems.
Support sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture are also promised, with streamlined funding schemes for local projects such as fleet upgrade with low-impact techniques and fishing gear, social inclusion and the contribution of fishermen to environmental protection.
According to the EU Commission, the effective implementation of the declaration will be made possible by involving in the process fishers â€“ men and women â€“ coastal communities, civil society, industrial, small-scale, artisanal and recreational fisheries, as well as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and GFCM.
Source: EU Commission
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