Wednesday, March 19, 2014


From fish egg to adult fish, all species follow important stages of development. And we definitely need to respect this life cycle. Even more now that the state of the stocks is alarming in the Mediterranean.
The maths are simple: for one juvenile left in the sea today we will have a new generation tomorrow. For example, a juvenile codfish reaches 10 cm, weights 5.4 grams and has no chance to reproduce. A mature codfish of 80 cm weights in average 3.6 kilos and produces 657 eggs. And if we let these new 657 juveniles grow up to maturity, we could fish in the end up to 2400 kilos of codfish. In other words, fishing juveniles is completely illogical.

Cultural change needs to happen in the Mediterranean. Indeed, the regional gastronomy still frequently features juvenile fish despite its catastrophic consequences. We have set minimum fishing size for several species and minimum mesh sizes for nets within the Mediterranean Regulation. We have put sustainability at the core of our renewed Common Fisheries Policy. But this is not enough. We need deep changes in our mind-sets.
I do think that a complementary solution lies with each and every one of us. We all need to act by our own means to stop eating juveniles. Fishermen need to commit to respect minimum size, fishmongers and retailers to stop selling undersized fish, consumers to pay attention to labelling and to the fish they choose.
They say old habits die hard. But I am convinced that well informed consumers and conscious professionals can put an end to harmful juvenile consumption.
Maria Damanaki's blog 

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