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According to Oceana, the Italian fishing industry has used a Consulting Council to influence a Parlamentarian decision on the Mediterranean.

Oceana accuses EC entity of delaying pluriannual plan for the Mediterranean

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, December 07, 2018, 21:20 (GMT + 9)

Oceana denounces that the Mediterranean Advisory Council (MedAC) aligned with part of the fishing industry in November to lobby MEPs and postpone the latest European Parliament vote on the Western Mediterranean Multiannual Plan.

The conservation organization indicates that, according to information to which it had access, senior officials of that consultative entity financed by the EU, which requires impartiality, "orchestrated and released the position of the industry", and that it is not the first time that such tactics are used in the Mediterranean negotiations.

The multi-annual plan for demersal fishing in the western Mediterranean aims to implement the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in the context of regionalization.

Oceana stresses that 80 per cent of demersal fish populations are overfished, in some cases severely, as it is the case with hake and red mullet, species that are caught 10 times more than their maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

“The Mediterranean fishing industry has proven that it will do whatever is in its hands and at all costs to stop any attempt to rebuild Mediterranean fisheries, even if it implies using a tax payer-funded Advisory Council to attempt to legitimate its arguments. Oceana, which is a member of various European Commission Advisory Councils, considers that this action clearly violates the principles of impartiality and transparency of Advisory Councils, as established by EU law. We now request a thorough investigation by the European Commission and proportionate measures to restore the damaged credibility of this Advisory Council”, said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director for Oceana in Europe.

Oceana reports that on November 27, the European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries was scheduled to vote on the Pluriannual Plan for the Western Mediterranean, but the vote was postponed at the last minute at the request of the rapporteur, the socialist Clara Aguilera. "This seemed to be the result of the intense lobbying of associations of the fishing industry in Italy, Spain and France, which are firmly opposed to the plan," says the organization.

The NGO warns that this delay could imply that the proposal may not approved before the European elections in May and that it could stay in limbo. The plan is a legal element with the potential to transform fishing in the Mediterranean because if scientific recommendations are followed and destructive fishing is removed from sensitive and nursery areas, the medium-term collapse of highly overfished stocks could be prevented.

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