The Our Fish team and our friends are in Malta, where the EU Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella is hosting the global Our Ocean Conference from 5-6th October 2017. Our Ocean brings political, business and civic leaders from around the world together to promote commitments for addressing global ocean problems.
But while attendees sip cocktails and congratulate each other about their plans, the surrounding Mediterranean Sea is suffering the effects of overfishing; it's an embarrassing example of the EU’s failure to implement the Common Fisheries Policy and end overfishing.
Beneath its glittering surface, the Mediterranean is in crisis; already under pressure from pollution, shipping and mass tourism, its fish stocks are 96% overfished, shark species are under risk of extinction, and illegal fishing is rampant - often driven by criminal organisations.
If EU governments don’t act now, this vital sea may no longer be able to provide a secure source of seafood, or sustainably support a fishing economy. Action must be taken on overfishing, or the the Mediterranean will be pushed beyond a point of no return.
- Increase enforcement to stop widespread illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing , and end perverse subsidies.
- Apply science-based fishing limits for commercial species, including emergency measures for severely depleted stocks, and give preferential access to fishers using methods that less impact on the environment and provide greater social and economic benefits.
- Create a network of fisheries restricted areas to protect the most vulnerable habitats, nursery and spawning grounds, to ensure that populations can rapidly rebound.
- Use EU funds to remove the most environmentally destructive trawlers and substantially reduce the capacity of the fleet, and assist the transition of communities to more sustainable fisheries.
World Famous Street Artist Ask - What Will We Eat When the Fish is Gone?
“I created this artwork inspired by a single question: what will we eat if there are no more fish? – Vera Bugatti. Vera Bugatti/Dancing Fox/Our Fish – Photo by Zigli Jonathan Borg.
“I created this artwork inspired by a single question: what will we eat if there are no more fish? The Mediterranean has shaped our food, our art and our culture for thousands of years, and today it is time for us to come together to protect this rich cultural and natural bounty for generations to come,” said Italian artist, Vera Bugatti.
Vera's image was on display at Spinola Bay, Malta 1600-2000 on October 5th.
“In the face of extreme overfishing, how can we learn to be more generous, like the ocean itself? It has provided us with abundant food, oxygen and inspiration for thousand of years, helping to shape our rich culture and cuisine. The time has come to be much more generous in return, or risk losing all of this great beauty forever.” - Twitch
Massive, ambitious cooperation is needed between members states and the EU to save the EU’s Mediterranean fisheries and the people that depend on them.