Ms. Maria DAMANAKI, Member of the European Commission

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council met in Brussels yesterday under the new Italian presidency. The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki spoke of how there has been overall improvement in the fisheries sector in Europe. In 2009 a mere 5 fish stocks were fished sustainably whereas now this has risen to 27 stocks.

Commissioner Damanaki was less upbeat about the Mediterranean situation and said that “we are lagging behind” in the sustainable management of our fish stocks. Mediterranean stocks, she said, are “not in a good shape” with 90% of them being overfished. She called on the council to find a solution using the help of the new Italian presidency, by working directly with fishermen, as well as other non-EU neighbours in the Mediterranean. She closed by insisting that “we cannot leave the situation as it is... because after some years there will be no more fish in the Mediterranean”.

fish4tomorrow backs the statements made by Commissioner Damanaki and calls on the Maltese government and, especially, the newly elected MEPs to ensure that the state of the Mediterranean fish stocks improve by; heeding and supporting scientific advice and research, increasing enforcement against illegal and unreported fishing in Maltese waters, and placing emphasis on small scale artisanal fishers who fish in sustainable ways. The fish4tomorrow campaign is currently working on ways to promote buying and eating sustainably caught fish.

JD Farrugia