WWF calls on GFCM to recover Mediterranean fish stocks
According to the WWF, the Mediterranean ranks high on the list of the most overexploited seas globally, with 100% of demersal fish stocks assessed as overfished by the GFCM.“This is the last chance to act before it is too late," said Dr. Sergi Tudela, Head of the Fisheries Programme at WWF Mediterranean."With current fishing mortality often assessed at several times the sustainable levels, it’s high time for the GFCM to rise to the challenge and ensure the recovery of Mediterranean fish stocks via ambitious management plans”.Most Mediterranean fish stocks are in a highly critical condition, says WWF."As an example, hake fishing mortality is currently 11 times its sustainable level. In the Gulf of Lion, according to scientists, the stock of sardine has collapsed and in the Adriatic the fishing mortality of red mullet is 3.5 times its sustainable level and that of sole 5.5 times its sustainable level."“The inescapable emergency for the GFCM this year to adopt a first set of comprehensive management plans addressing the sustainable exploitation of some of the fish stocks identified as overexploited by the GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). WWF also believes the GFCM should ensure that management plans for all remaining stocks under its mandate are adopted within a clear timeframe,” added Tudela.
WWF is calling on the GFCM to adopt plans which include scientifically-based adaptive rules as well as strong fishing effort and fleet capacity reduction measures where appropriate. WWF says such plans should be based on the co-management model, fully considering ecosystem and social issues.According to WWF, priority action should be taken before it is too late in the Adriatic, given the advanced level of research in this area and the still healthy status of sardine and anchovy stocks there.“Given the critical status of much Mediterranean stocks, measures should be adopted without delay. The increasing quality and quantity of scientific advice produced by the GFCM, along with the recent adoption of clear management guidelines, shows that such measures are both possible and necessary,” concluded Tudela.