CoCoNet Press Release April 2014
PROTECTING SHARED STOCKS IN HIGH SEAS
In seas and oceans, most fish resources are shared stocks, which means that fish migrate or simply swim around, crossing the EEZ boundary of one coastal state into the EEZ(s) of one, or more, other coastal states. Sometimes they are called transboundary stocks to be found exclusively in the high seas. The Mediterranean and Black Seas have many shared stocks of migratory fish species, such as bluefin tuna, swordfish, bonito, bluefish, and mackerel. In addition, cetaceans (dolphins and whales) and sea turtles are transboundary species.
In recent years, mismanagement of shared marine living resources has become obvious in both the Mediterranean and Black Sea Basins as most of the fish stocks have been depleted. One of the reasons for this is lack of sufficient cooperation among countries. Establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is one of the solutions to protect fish stocks for sustainable and viable fisheries. While shared stocks are also under the threat of overfishing, mismanagement, lack of cooperation among riparian countries, designation of MPAs not only in territorial waters but also in high seas should be considered in both basins. High sea areas still posses common goods for humans but this also means that transboundary and international cooperation is strongly needed for sustaibale use of these goods in future.
The Pelagos Sanctuary, designated ont only but particularly for cetaceans, is a unique example in the Mediterrnanean Sea in terms of inclusion of the high sea area. This is a special MPA extending about 90.000 km2 in the north-western Mediterranean Sea between Italy, France and the Island of Sardinia, encompassing Corsica and the Archipelago Toscano. It includes the Ligurian Sea and parts of the Corsican and Tyrrhenian Seas, and contain the internal maritime (15%) and territorial waters (32%) of France, Monaco and Italy, as well as the adjacent high seas (53%).
The Pelagos Sanctuay
Underwater gardens of the Black and Mediterranean Seas need to be protected with strong tranboundary cooperation. It is one of the reasons why we work together in the CoCoNet project with the entire international team.