Last year the EU adopted a Multiannual Management Plan (MAP) of demersal fisheries in the Western Mediterranean that regulates the fleets, mainly trawlers, from Italy, France and Spain. Back then, the sector criticised the introduction of severe spatial-seasonal trawl closures and the harsh reduction of the activity at sea from the first year of implementation of the new rules. The fishing industry strictly complied with these measures even though undermined the viability of the Mediterranean fleets. Fishermen, now facing the consequences of the COVID-19, fear further cuts which would lead to a considerable decline in the number of fishing vessels, jobs and fish supply.
Earlier this year, a group of researches claimed that fishing activities occurred in 55% of the world’s oceans . As a result, their study found that the area fished is four times bigger than the area occupied by agriculture in terms of square kilometres. Europêche then argued that the study was based on scientifically unsound data , overestimating the proportion of the seabed where fishing occurs. A new scientific research developed by the Department of Marine Sciences and Fisheries of the University of Washington evidences this by showing that when low-resolution data are replaced by high-resolution data, the true footprint of fishing is revealed to be less than 4%. Science confirms that fishing continues to hold the first place as the lowest impact production method.