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Major Reform is Good News for Mediterranean and Black Sea Fish Stocks

21 May 2014

EU - The European Commission has welcomed a key reform completed by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) at its Annual Session in Rome 20 May, which sets ambitious objectives for the conservation of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The agreement reached is in line with the new EU Common Fisheries Policy and provides the organisation the tools to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries and to ensure compliance. The reformed GFCM will establish common standards, rules and will aim at setting a level playing field in the region.

The new Agreement will also strengthen cooperation between GFCM Members for the sustainable management of the stocks they share. It will encourage fishermen to be more involved in the conservation of the resources they live of, and it will allow to better monitor fishing activities in the area.

Commissioner Damanaki, addressed the GFCM plenary in Rome minutes before the agreement was reached, stressing that this reform will make the GFCM "a more efficient, more credible and more modern organisation; an organisation that is well-equipped and ready to restore the health of marine resources and to take up a leading role in international fisheries management."

Welcoming the agreement reached, the Commissioner stated: “This is a great day for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and I truly congratulate the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and FAO for the hard work done to achieve the new Agreement. The EU has contributed greatly to this work and has been working very closely with all its partners in the region. We are fully committed to implement together with our partners this reform as soon as possible. I am convinced that this Agreement will become indispensable for the future of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries and fishermen.”

Oceana, the international marine conservation organization that has been participating as an observer in this process since its inception, has strongly welcomed this long-awaited step. “In 1949 Mediterranean riparian states agreed to manage fish stocks,” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

“More than 60 years later fisheries remain unmanaged and almost 80 per cent of stocks are overfished. Today, we can finally celebrate that the GFCM has not turned a deaf ear to the alarms and we welcome its strong stance, which we hope will turn the tide for the future of Our Sea”.

The GFCM is a FAO (United Nations) body whose role is to ensure a good state of stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. All Mediterranean countries are members of the organization, including the EU. In the Black Sea, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine are observers and participate regularly to the work of the organization.

TheFishSite News Desk

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