Following months of negotiations, the European Commission has secured a 10-year multinational pledge to save fish stocks in the Mediterranean.
The Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration, made on March 30th, sets out a detailed work programme for the next 10 years, based on ambitious but realistic targets. It was signed by representatives of Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Albania and Montenegro.
Key commitments include: ensuring that all key Mediterranean stocks are subject to adequate data collection and scientifically assessed on a regular basis by 2020; establishing multi-annual management plans for all key fisheries; eliminating 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; supporting sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture by streamlining 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.
Over 300,000 people are directly employed on fishing vessels in the Mediterranean, whilst many more indirect jobs depend on the sector.
On signing the declaration, European Commissioner Karmenu Vella said: "Today we are making history. 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 – for a bright future for fishermen, coastal communities and fishing resources alike."