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FAO protects fish, fishermen with plans in Med

Adriamed project protects fish in Adriatic with Croatia, Italy

02 March, 18:11

    NAPLES - A FAO official for fishing resources at the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), Elisabetta Betulla Morello, has said that "we want to have the certainty that fish reproduce before they are captured, because this is fundamental for the sustainability of fishing in the long run". She stressed that FAO's agencies are fighting to protect the Mediterranean fish and their wellbeing.

    Over the past few years, according to a statement issued by FAO, many fishermen in the Mediterranean started to worry about the future. Local populations of fish and crustaceans were affected by excessive fishing and climate change. A witness of this change is Romeo Mikicic, who has been fishing in the Adriatic sea for 40 years and who loves the sea. His is the last generation of fishermen on the island of Cres, one of over 1,000 islands of Croatia. Fishing, explained Mikicic, who heads the national Croatian association representing some 200 trawlers, is very important in Croatia. In the 1990s, until the first years of the new millennium, it was possible to fish well, but then fish started becoming scarce. We were forced to import fish to integrate provisions in the area, especially in the summer months, during the tourist season".

    For years, FAO recommended the adoption of a new management approach of the precious marine resources of the Mediterranean to preserve fishing stocks and other resources.

    Through GFCM and a network of projects on the ground, like AdriaMed, FAO has led initiatives with high stakes given that, according to the report on the "State of fishing in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea 2020" of GFCM, 75% of fish stocks have suffered from excessive exploitation. But managing fishing is a complex role as many species move across international borders. The main result of the cooperation between Croatia and Italy, after 15 years of studies and consultations of a scientific nature, is the signature of a bilateral agreement to protect stocks and their habitat in the northern Adriatic. At the end of the process, promoted by FAO and countries participating in the AdriaMed project, member countries of GFCM have set up, in 2017, a regulated fishing zone (ZPR). The zone, which includes the waters around the volcanic little island of Pomo (Jabuka in Croatian), is a no-fishing area of 1,400 square kilometers that has become a territory of reproduction of the common hake and prawns. Fishing with trawls is always banned and other fishing activities are limited to certain periods of the year. The boats responsible for inspections at sea and coast guards patrol the area to fight the decline of biodiversity in the Mediterranean. It is an advantageous situation for the environment, but also for fishermen. Thanks to an increased biodiversity, they profit from more abundant and valuable fish.

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