CFP Briefing No 7


The EU Member States bordering the Mediterranean – France, Greece, Italy and Spain – have important and often locally significant fisheries sectors, operating in an environment that is characterized by high biological diversity.

Despite the existence of a ‘common’ EU fisheries policy, Mediterranean fisheries have traditionally not been subject to the same EU fisheries management measures that apply in the north-east Atlantic region. This situation can be explained on a number of grounds, including the particular geo-political situation in the Mediterranean region, and the fact that jurisdiction has generally not been extended out to fisheries or exclusive economic zones (EEZ) as in the rest of the EU. Only Spain has extended its management of fisheries resources beyond coastal waters by declaring a Fisheries Protection Zone. The Mediterranean (excluding the Adriatic Sea) also has a narrow continental shelf, making about 90 per cent of fishing in the region coastal. In effect this means that although the majority of the surface area of the Mediterranean falls within international waters, most fishing activities take place within territorial waters.

The Commission’s proposed Community Action Plan for the Mediterranean Sea gives an overview of the special characteristics of Mediterranean fisheries and sets out several actions to be taken over the next few years to strengthen EU fisheries management in the region.

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