The European Commission has adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for 2021 in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, claimed to be delivering on the political commitments made in the MedFish4Ever and the Sofia Declarations to promote sustainable management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.
The proposal implements the multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean, by continuing to reduce the fishing effort in the area.
It also includes measures for eel, red coral, dolphinfish, small pelagic species and demersal stocks in the Adriatic, deep water red shrimps stocks in the Ionian Sea, Levant Sea and the Strait of Sicily, in line with the decisions of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).
In the Black Sea, catch limits and quotas are proposed for turbot and sprat. For turbot, the proposal will transpose the EU quota decided in the context of the revision of the GFCM turbot multiannual management plan. For sprat, the Commission proposes to maintain the same catch limit as in 2020.
The 2019 multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean is intended to achieve an overall reduction of up to 40% in five years. A 10% reduction has already been implemented in 2020.
Over the last three years, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) has adopted 40 conservation, management and control measures, proposed by the European Union.
These include a management plan for eel in the Mediterranean Sea and emergency measures for 2019-2021 for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea, adopted in 2018 and the management plan for demersal stocks in the Adriatic, adopted in 2019, which addresses the alarming state of key stocks, in particular hake.
Other key species are now covered by management plans, with the adoption of management plans for red coral, blackspot seabream in the Alboran Sea, deep water red shrimps in the Strait of Sicily, Ionian and Levant Seas, as well as dolphinfish under fish aggregating devices (FADs).
In 2017 the GFCM adopted a multiannual management plan for turbot in the Black Sea, introducing management and control measures to be implemented for the first time at regional level. The multiannual plan was subsequently reviewed at the GFCM 2019 annual session, where a new quota allocation has been agreed upon by contracting parties.
The Member States are expected to decide on the proposal at the November Agriculture and Fisheries Council. The regulation is to be applied as of 1st January 2021.