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© Alfredo Allais

Our Ocean feeds us, today and tomorrow

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

I

f you're flying to Malta, you're probably looking forward to taste our delicious seafood. If you're leaving Malta, I'm sure you already miss it. I'm talking about our traditional lampuki pie, our rich aljotta (fish soup), our savoury klamari mimlija (stuffed calamari) Indeed, the products of the Mediterranean Sea are one of our most renowned and appreciated treasures. Here in Malta and in other Mediterranean countries, many communities are inseparable from the sea. Fishermen are inseparable from fish. All of us, proud children of this sparkling blue sea, have a deep attachment to it. Our culture, including our gastronomy, is profoundly influenced by our relationship with the Mediterranean. And yet, seafood is a shrinking resource in our waters, threatened by overexploitation, illegal fishing, pollution and climate change. As I always tell my grandchildren, the sea is very much a part of the family;

it's our past, our present and our future. A heritage that we need to protect. If we don't act now, our millennia-old traditions will be lost forever. That is why I brought together 15 countries from across the Mediterranean to sign the "MedFish4Ever" declaration. We will work together to restore fish stocks to good health, to support fishermen and to fight illegal fishing so that we can all continue to enjoy our seafood – responsibly and sustainably. All this can be achieved solely in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity among the Mediterranean countries. Let me share with you a success story that I'm particularly proud of. One that demonstrates that we can protect our seas and everybody who depends on them, if only we work together. A decade ago, the bluefin tuna – an extremely important species to Mediterranean

MALTA, 5-6 OCTOBER 2017

fisherman – was on the verge of collapse. The European Union came to the rescue with a 15-year recovery plan and led international efforts to enforce that plan. A mere 8 years later, this stock has started to flourish again and fishermen can catch more Bluefin tuna again – thanks to the concerted efforts of the the fishing community which worked hard to help these fish from becoming extinct. This year is particularly important for the oceans. From Bali, to New York, to my home Malta, the world community is mobilising. And we should build on our successes. Sustainable fisheries will be one of the key topics at the Our Ocean Conference, hosted by the European Union in Malta on 5 and 6 October. At the conference, industry and government leaders and civil society will commit to concrete actions for healthy and sustainably managed oceans for present and future generations to enjoy.

Find out more at www.ourocean2017.org or contact us via email at MARE-OOC-2017_BUSINESS@ec.europa.eu #OurOcean

Il-Bizzilla, August 2017  

On our cover this month; the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean where you can blissfully enjoy a meal while watching the sunset after...