Fight against illegal fishing and bottom sea trawling in the Mediterranean

Fight against illegal fishing and bottom sea trawling in the Mediterranean

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commercial fishing boat, with nets that trawl and destroy habitats

As officers from Mediterranean nations collect this week for the the UN’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) annual session in Croatia. The FAO-based group are working with NGOs urging the adoption of measures that might enable the GFCM to deal with unlawful, unreported and unregulated fishing and instances of non-compliance inside its area – a name backed by a authorized evaluation revealed this week that reveals that GFCM has the competency to impose such measures.

The Mediterranean is being overfished and damaging, unlawful trawlers are killing undersea ecosystems. But with the UN’s poor observe document in preventing and naming bigger points reminiscent of terrorism, it’s doubtless {that a} UN group may have full religion buy-in for folks preventing for fish.

The proposed system below dialogue this week – which already exists in different regional fisheries administration organisations – would enable the UN-run GFCM group to take motion towards nations that persistently disregard fishing rules.

Several organisations of the Med Sea Alliance argue that making a compliance mechanism is essential for the Mediterranean’s biodiversity, fish inventory restoration, and the communities that depend on marine sources.

fishing nets

“At the second, the GFCM can’t act when nations systematically fail to observe its necessities on, for instance, fleet management or correctly reporting on their fishing actions, however with such a system in place, the GFCM might apply measures reminiscent of suspending fishing authorisations or requiring elevated controls,” mentioned Helena Álvarez, Senior Marine Scientist at Oceana in Europe. “This is a prerequisite for guaranteeing the survival of the Mediterranean’s distinctive biodiversity, to help the restoration of fish shares and the communities that depend on marine sources”.

“The Mediterranean Sea, wealthy in biodiversity and very important to the livelihoods of numerous fishermen, faces persistent challenges”, mentioned Nils Courcy, Senior Jurist, Marine & Mediterranean, at ClientEarth. “Fishing guidelines and rules are established by way of consensus, however implementation and enforcement usually fall brief. A compliance mechanism will help implement rules that stop damaging fishing practices, reminiscent of backside trawling, which may hurt or destroy very important habitats, such as seagrass (Posidonia oceanica). This hole in enforcement endangers shared pure sources and the very existence of the fishermen who depend upon them.”

A legal analysis by Professor Tullio Scovazzi – retired former professor of worldwide regulation on the Universities of Parma, Genoa, Milan and Milan-Bicocca, Italy – and Professor Simone Vezzani, – professor of worldwide and European regulation on the University of Perugia, Italy – confirms that the GFCM has the competency to impose corrective measures in instances of non-compliance.

The evaluation was commissioned by the Med Sea Alliance, a coalition of non-governmental organisations working to enhance the well being and productiveness of the Mediterranean Sea, in response to questions raised in the course of the GFCM Compliance Committee assembly in May 2023 concerning the compatibility of such a system with worldwide regulation. The authorized evaluation concludes that the present lack of a compliance mechanism isn’t a authorized, however reasonably a political query.

“As this authorized evaluation reveals, the one factor holding again GFCM from successfully coping with states who don’t observe the foundations is a matter of political will,” mentioned Jesús Urios Culiañez, Environmental Justice Foundation’s lead campaigner for the Mediterranean. “This week, GFCM Members have a chance to make the significant change we want. By establishing a powerful enforcement system for the conservation and administration of the Mediterranean, they will defend marine ecosystems and help the livelihoods of those that depend on them. They should not let this chance slip away.”

In a Call to Action revealed in the course of the GFCM High-level convention on MedFish4Ever initiatives, a number of member organisations of the Med Sea Alliance urged GFCM members to create a compliance mechanism, develop vessel monitoring and that different monitoring measures (AIS) and be sure that that trawl bans within the Mediterranean Sea are absolutely enforced and complied with to help the restoration of fish shares and the safety of delicate habitats.

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