Published Monday, 10 November 2003

CFP Briefing No 18 

On 9 October the Commission proposed a Regulation for the sustainable exploitation of Mediterranean Sea fishery resources (CO(2003)589). The Regulation would replace existing technical provisions (Regulation 1626/94),which are considered technically inadequate and lack a comprehensive management framework. While the objectives of the basic Common Fisheries Policy Regulation (2371/2002) are equally applicable to the Mediterranean as they are to other EU waters, the Commission recognises the need for regionally tailored measures for the Mediterranean due to its specific biological, social and economic context. The proposed Regulation does this by introducing new management measures, such as technical controls, area closures, and provisions for management plans, and building upon those measures already in place.

A notable characteristic of the Mediterranean region is that jurisdiction has generally not been extended out to fisheries or exclusive economic zones (EEZ) as in much of the rest of the EU. Only Spain has extended its management of fisheries resources beyond coastal waters by declaring a Fisheries Protection Zone. As the Mediterranean (excluding the Adriatic Sea) also has a narrow continental shelf, about 90 per cent of fishing in the region is 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.