Oceana welcomes the adoption by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of a measure that will improve its Authorised Vessel List. As of the next round of reporting by GFCM member countries, the list will publicly display which vessels are allowed to fish in which restricted areas, allowing more transparency and effective monitoring. The measure is an outcome of the 44th annual GFCM Commission meeting that took place from the 2-6 November.
“We applaud the decision of the GFCM to prioritise transparency and accountability in the fisheries sector by approving the modification of its Authorised Vessel List. This outcome will allow authorities, researchers and NGOs to cross-check information and have more clarity on which vessels can fish where, to prevent illegal activities at sea. To effectively tackle IUU fishing, it is essential to keep improving the list, to make it more complete and transparent,” said Helena Álvarez, marine scientist at Oceana in Europe.
Oceana asks Mediterranean countries to further expand the information included within the GFCM Authorised Vessel List, requiring additional important information such as the vessel owner, previous flag and greater detail relating to the types of fishing licenses granted. Following best practices in other RFMOs, this information should be publicly accessible through the GFCM website, along with all other information contained within GFCM’s Authorised Vessel List.
Oceana also welcomes the adoption of a new Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) in the Bari submarine canyon in the South Adriatic Sea, a 1000 km2 area closed to bottom trawling, protecting important cold-water coral reefs, nursery grounds for sharks and essential fish habitats for European hake, red mullet and deep-rose shrimp. At the meeting, the proposal to permanently establish the Jabuka/Pomo Pit FRA (Northern Adriatic) was also adopted. For Oceana, these steps are important advances to improve the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems and expand the network of fisheries closures in the Mediterranean and Black seas.
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