Fishing, more than any other sector of food production, is characterized by the uncertainty of production conditions. Fishermen are never sure what they will catch; and that what they land will suit the buyers. The origin of the problem is a basic fact, namely, that in the sector there is no private ownership regime of the breeding areas. This is the main cause of the natural tendency to irrational exploitation of resources, according to the erroneous belief that since resources belong to everyone and no one, they can be attacked freely. And this widespread concept is the first barrier to be overcome by the operators themselves.
“Out of sight, out of mind” these words sum up the attitude we have had towards the sea for centuries.
We need to make a qualitative leap and change our vision of things, not repeating the mistakes of the past, form a more responsible mentality, a different approach in the management of the marine territory, essentially form a culture of respect for resources.
To manage fishing in the Mediterranean, the national perspective is no longer enough, cooperation with cross-border countries is an indispensable prerequisite.
Many of the challenges facing Europe’s seas are global.
In recent years, bluefin tuna has gone from being overexploited to a progressive recovery whose quotas have increased by 20% every year, thanks to a huge international effort led by the EU.
This demonstrates that the right measures adopted by all cross-border countries and, supported by a strong commitment from the sector, can help rebuild the resource and guarantee it for future generations. Improved bluefin tuna stocks are an economic and environmental success story. The sustainable use of our seas is essential. Vital. It is no longer possible: business and welfare must go hand in hand.
In the past years – in Italy, for the tuna sector – a questionable principle of division of quotas has been applied. The crux of the problem – which is being debated these days – is the 600 tonne quota that the ministry has to distribute among the various fishing systems. A protest chorus rises from the Sicilian territories. They call for the application of “the principle of economic sustainability”, a cornerstone of the EU.
Basically allocating a large percentage of the tuna quota increase to incidental catches in favor of longliners and fishing boats already authorized to catch swordfish which, inevitably, end up accidentally catching bluefin tuna. A fair distribution serves to rebalance the market and to avoid scams and illegal activities which are forced on the fishermen. But the minister and the undersecretary turned a deaf ear, they prefer encirclement. If the distribution parameters for 2018 – as announced – will be the same as those sanctioned in the three-year period 2015/2017, this will not do justice to the expectations of the many long-liners. Then, either a more equitable distribution is provided for or alternatively this act is suspended and the next government, legitimately elected by the Italians, is entrusted with the burden of dealing with such an important and delicate issue, for the economic sustainability of many honest fishermen . And always remember that the primary obligation is to guarantee the future of “both the resources and the fishermen”.