Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration signed to save Mediterranean fish stocks and support small-scale fisheries

March 30, 2017
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The Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration was signed today by Mediterranean ministerial representatives from both northern and southern coastlines who have committed to saving the Mediterranean fish stocks and protecting the region’s ecological and economic resources. Following months of negotiation, the declaration sets out a detailed work programme for the next 10 years based on ambitious but realistic targets. Over 300 000 people are directly employed on fishing vessels in the Mediterranean, whilst many more indirect jobs depend on the sector.

Commitments made by the signatories include:

– By 2020, ensure that all key Mediterranean stocks are subject to adequate data collection and scientifically assessed on a regular basis. In particular, small-scale fishermen are to acquire an increased role in collecting the necessary data to reinforce scientific knowledge;

– Establish multi-annual management plans for all key fisheries. For its part, the Commission has already initiated this process with a proposal for a multi-annual fisheries plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic;

– Eliminate 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. The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) will lead the development of national control and sanctioning systems;

– Support sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture by streamlining funding schemes for local projects such as fleet upgrades with low-impact techniques and fishing gear, social inclusion and the contribution of fishermen to environmental protection.

The effective implementation of the declaration will be made possible by involving fishers – both men and women –, coastal communities, civil society, industrial, small-scale, artisanal and recreational fisheries in the process, as well as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and GFCM. Today’s declaration is another contribution to the EU’s international commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 14: ‘Conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’).

Today’s declaration is the outcome of the so-called Catania process, launched by Commissioner Vella in February last year and entailing fruitful cooperation with stakeholders, the GFCM Secretariat, EU Member States and third countries. Important milestones include a first ministerial conference of Mediterranean fisheries ministers in April 2016, the GFCM annual session in June 2016, and the GFCM inter-sessional meeting in September 2016.

The following parties were represented at the Malta MedFish4Ever Ministerial Conference: European Commission, 8 Member States (Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus), 7 third countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro), the FAO, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, the European Parliament, and the EU Mediterranean Advisory Council.


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Press release

Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration

#MedFish4Ever campaign

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia