LA VALLETTA, MALTA, MARCH 31 – The agreement on fishing in the Mediterranean not only provides an additional resource to protect marine life and increase the sustainability of human activities, but may also contribute to job creation in the fishing industry, also benefiting those countries that have in time become hotspots for economically motivated migration. The Declaration MedFish4Ever, adopted in Malta by the ministers’ conference on fishing in the Mediterranean, will serve as a model for cooperation and sustainable development for all coastal states for the next ten years.
Signed by the ministers in charge of fishing rights for each coastal state, it is considered to be a milestone in regulating fishing in the Mediterranean and will serve as a precursor for the international conference ‘Our Ocean’, scheduled for autumn and to be hosted in the EU for the first time.
There has been ample approval by environmental organizations, with the WWF defining the Declaration as an ambitious, strategic plan to transform the fishing industry in the Mediterranean to guarantee sustainability and long-term availability of fish stock, based on the most updated scientific data available. The fishing industry is critical to the Mediterranean where more than 250.000 people (55% artisan fishing) are directly employed, not considering related sectors like production and distribution among others.
According to the WWF, the Declaration’s strategy is well integrated with socio-economic needs and a better management of resources at sea. “The fish stock of the Mediterranean can no longer be sustained by words and good intentions alone. Concrete actions are needed on coastlines, at sea and in terms of governance. The Malta Declaration is our last chance to save the fish stock in the Mediterranean and ensure that future generations have access to an important source of sustenance”, remarked Giuseppe Di Carlo, Director of the WWF’s Marine Mediterranean Initiative. “Pooling resources has been the most effective course of action. By co-managing, our results have exceeded expectations. We now expect to gradually see a healthy and productive Mediterranean and to that end, we offer full support to the European Commission, the Mediterranean States, and the CGPM”, Di Carlo concluded. (@novellatop/vb)