The Mediterranean countries adopt a Regional Plan for artisanal fisheries

artisanal fisheries

The Mediterranean countries adopt a Regional Plan for artisanal fisheries

Artisanal fishing is a socio-economic and cultural column in the Mediterranean. Representing 60% of the fleet, and generating more than 300.000 jobs. However, decades of overfishing and mismanagement have severely degraded their marine resources, with over 80% of the stocks overfished. A situation that threatens the survival of artisanal fishermen and their families.

For decades, the point of view of its own protagonist, the fishermen, has been ignored and relegated to the background. However,  what is new about this this Action Plan is that it recognizes the need to incorporate them into the decision-making process and the management of resources.

What is in the plan?

Representatives of the countries around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea adopted in Malta a regional plan for small fisheries aiming, among other things, to promote the political participation of artisanal producers.

At a conference organized by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, Stefano Cataudella, president of this organization, explained that this new agreement includes measures to encourage important aspects such us:

  • Scientific research
  • Data collection
  • Fisheries management
  • Value chains development.

Among its objectives is providing technical training, decent work and environmental protection, as well as enhance the role of women in the sector and involve artisanal fishermen in political decision-making.

This Regional Plan is established for the next ten years, following the lead of the ministerial declaration signed last year at the same place in order to protect fishing resources and ensure the small-scale fishing sustainability in these two seas, the most overexploited in the world.

The adoption ceremony was attended by, Alicia Villauriz, Secretary General of Fisheries of Spain, along with a delegation of ministers and senior officials from the coastal countries.

Cataudella said that the sector is “very heterogeneous” along the region because of the economic resources diversity, fished species or protection networks for fishermen, so the answers presented by this plan must be “adapted to the needs in the field.”

Karmelu Vellla, European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs pointed out that when fish stocks “collapse”, those suffering the impact are the small fishermen and the families that depend on them.

According to Karmela Vella “It is time to make decisions not for them, but with them,”  She wanted to mention all the European Union efforts to help small-scale fisheries adapt to changes, equip it with technology to report catches and avoid the abandonment of gear, most of them plastic, which are a source of marine pollution.

This type of fishery represents 84% ​​of the fleet in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, employs 62% of the personnel on board and represents 24% of the value of the catches that are unloaded in the region.

Fishing communities such as: the Guadalquivir Reserve (Cádiz), Mar Menor (Murcia), Fuerteventura and the Maresme coast and the Costa Brava (Catalonia) are real examples of a new sustainable fishing model.

Its main key is the incorporation and participation of the fishermen themselves when it comes to managing fishery resources. The objective of this approach is searching for solutions that ensure the conservation of this resource, the protection of the marine environment and the sustainability of fishing activity.