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The importance of small-scale coastal fishing highlighted and the Declaration on the Sustainability of Mediterranean Fisheries signed at the Ministerial Conference

Valleta, 29–30 March 2017 – State Secretary Marjan Podgoršek attended the Ministerial Conference on the Sustainability of Mediterranean Fisheries at the invitation of the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. Today, the Conference concluded with the official signing of the Declaration of the Ministerial Conference on the Sustainability of Mediterranean Fisheries, which replaces the 14-year old Venice Declaration of the Ministerial Conference for the Sustainable Development of Fishery in the Mediterranean signed at the Ministerial Conference in 2003. "Slovenia's main objective within the framework of the EU Common Fisheries Policy is to preserve its fisheries sector for future generations and to facilitate its sustainable development." On the margins of the Conference yesterday the State Secretary attended the meeting of the representatives of stakeholders in Mediterranean fisheries as part of the Conference on the Sustainability of Mediterranean Fisheries. The meeting focused on small-scale coastal fishing, which is a key feature of Mediterranean and Slovenian fisheries, and its role in helping fisheries achieve environmental, social and economic sustainability.

The Malta Conference was attended by Ministers and State Secretaries from the Mediterranean EU Member States and third countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In his speech at the conference, State Secretary Podgoršek stressed the perspective of Slovenian fisheries. »Slovenia’s fisheries sector is one of the smallest fisheries sectors in the Mediterranean; it is therefore important for Slovenian fisheries that specific management characteristics are taken into account." According to the State Secretary, Slovenia supports the preservation and sustainable management of fish stocks in the context of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. "At the same time, cooperation is of essential importance — both in terms of assessment of data on fish stocks and their management.  It is our wish that these management principles and good cooperation will disseminate in the Adriatic Sea region as well as the larger Mediterranean."

 

The Ministerial Declaration on the Sustainability of Mediterranean Fisheries, which was signed today, notes that despite the joint effort there are over 85% of the scientifically assessed stocks in the Mediterranean exceed safe limits and, therefore, the future of fisheries in the Mediterranean is at stake. An increasing number of human activities is placing pressure on marine ecosystems.  To protect the survival of coastal communities it is therefore necessary to maintain fishery resources.  As the key principles for achieving this objective, the declaration defines achieving management based on the maximum sustainable yield of stocks; setting up a culture of compliance, and ensuring the observance of the fisheries management rules; ensuring the proper collection and exchange of data on fisheries, as well as the reinforcement of scientific bases of management.    

 

During the conference State Secretary Podgoršek pointed out that from the Slovenian fisheries' point of view it is of the utmost importance to take into consideration the to-date contributions made to reducing fishing effort and maintaining stocks: since Slovenia’s accession to the EU Slovenian fishermen's catches of sardines and anchovies fell by around 90%; in addition management measures should take into account the principle of proportionality or the actual impact of fishing fleets on the stocks. The Slovenia's main objective within the framework of the EU Common Fisheries Policy is to preserve its fisheries sector for future generations and to facilitate its sustainable development.

 

As part of the Ministerial Conference on the Sustainability of Mediterranean Fisheries, the State Secretary attended the meeting of the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella and the stakeholders in fisheries. The meeting was an opportunity for representatives of fishermen and non-governmental organisations to exchange views and present best practices in fisheries management.  The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Advisory Council for the Mediterranean, a consultative body of the European Commission in which Slovenian fishermen are also represented and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), an international regional organisation for fisheries management in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where Slovenia is also a member. In his discussion with the Commissioner State Secretary Podgoršek highlighted the specific characteristics and needs of Slovenian fisheries, which, in addition to small-scale coastal fishing is characterised by the small size of the sector.

 

In the margins of the ministerial conference, the State Secretary also met with the Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Mediterranean, Giampaolo Buonfiglio, and the Executive Secretary of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, Abdellah Srour.   The Advisory Council for the Mediterranean (MEDAC) is a consultative body representing the Mediterranean fisheries stakeholders, including representatives of the Slovenian fishermen; it was established under the EU Common Fisheries Policy and submits the opinions of stakeholders in Mediterranean fisheries to the European Commission. The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), of which Slovenia is also a member, is an international regional organisation for the management of fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.