More than 150 scientists have called on EU leaders to end the “overfishing crisis” in the Mediterranean to prevent the collapse of the region's fish stocks.
Experts from European countries including Italy, Spain, the UK and France signed a declaration by leading conservation group Oceana, which calls on the EU to reform the fisheries industry in what is considered the world’s most overfished sea.
Overfishing in the Mediterranean affects an estimated 90% of assessed fish stocks, with average exploitation rates more than double the recommended sustainable levels, according to EU data.
The EU “has a major responsibility for this alarming environmental situation as it is the main fishing actor in terms of volume, fleet size, and capacity,” the statement says.
Among their recommendations, the experts called on leaders in the western Mediterranean to heed scientific advice by restricting bottom trawling, protecting nursery grounds and setting catch limits.
“This environmental crisis is not just a warning — it’s the harsh reality of the Mediterranean Sea. Europe has for decades turned a blind eye to this situation, and this passive stance has brought us today to almost the point of no return,” said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe.