On the 17th of August, the Commission adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for 2021 in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.
With this proposal, the Commission is delivering on the political commitments made in the MedFish4Ever and the Sofia Declarations to promote sustainable management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. It reflects the Commission’s ambition for sustainable fisheries.
The proposal implements the multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean, by continuing to reduce the fishing effort in the area.
It also includes measures for eel, red coral, dolphinfish, small pelagic species and demersal stocks in the Adriatic, deep water red shrimps stocks in the Ionian Sea, Levant Sea and the Strait of Sicily, in line with the decisions of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).
In the Black Sea, catch limits and quotas are proposed for turbot and sprat. For turbot, the proposal will transpose the EU quota decided in the context of the revision of the GFCM turbot multiannual management plan. For sprat, the Commission proposes to maintain the same catch limit as in 2020.
The Member States are expected to decide on the proposal at the November Agriculture and Fisheries Council. The regulation is to be applied as of 1 January 2021.
The Commission promotes an enhanced multilateral approach and cooperation to fisheries management in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. A new governance was established following the adoption of the Malta “MedFish4ever” and Sofia Declarations.
The multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean adopted in June 2019 introduced a fishing effort regime for trawlers intended to achieve an overall reduction of up to 40% in five years. A 10% reduction has already been implemented in 2020, the first year of implementation of the MAP.
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean is a regional fisheries management organisation competent for the conservation and management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Over the last three years, the GFCM has adopted the impressive number of 40 conservation, management and control measures, at the proposal of the European Union. Out of these, 15 measures were adopted in 2019 alone. They include ground-breaking management measures. For instance, a management plan for eel in the Mediterranean Sea and emergency measures for 2019-2021 for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea, adopted in 2018 and the management plan for demersal stocks in the Adriatic, adopted in 2019, which addresses the alarming state of key stocks, in particular hake. Other iconic species are now covered by management plans, with the adoption of management plans for red coral, blackspot seabream in the Alboran Sea, deep water red shrimps in the Strait of Sicily, Ionian and Levant Seas, as well as dolphinfish under fish aggregating devices (FADs).
In 2017 the GFCM adopted a multiannual management plan for turbot in the Black Sea, introducing management and control measures to be implemented for the first time at regional level. The multiannual plan was subsequently reviewed at the GFCM 2019 annual session, where a new quota allocation has been agreed upon by contracting parties.