Illegal fishing in Black Sea, still a problem. Strategy and investment, needed


EC prepared in this respect a technical assistance project devoted to maritime affairs integration worth EUR 1.5 M, according to European Commissioner for Fishery and Maritime Affairs Maria Damanaki.

Illegal fishing is still an issue in the Black Sea, as the region lacks strategies, new ideas and investments. “The situation of the maritime environment is far from ideal and I put this delicately. The transport infrastructure is still low, for instance we cannot easily cross the Black Sea to have tourism on the coastline or to perform other economic activities,” said European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fishery Maria Damanaki during the conference named ‘Sustainable Development of the Blue Economy of the Black Sea. Enhancing Marine and Maritime Cooperation’ organized by the European Commission and the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday in Bucharest. The conference was attended by public administrations and private sector participants of all Black Sea countries – Bulgaria, Russia, the Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia.
She made an appeal in this respect to improving the fish stock in the Black Sea. “If we continue in this manner, there will be no fish left in the Black Sea for our kids,” warned the Greek commissioner.
On the other hand, Damanaki appealed that no further bodies should be created and that “bureaucracy should not be enhanced.” The commissioner announced the European Commission’s intention to launch a technical assistance project devoted to the integration of maritime affairs in the Black Sea, in amount of EUR 1.5 million, and said that the neighbouring states must come up with projects now. “The major steps ahead cannot come from Brussels, but from this region. Please help us create a better development for the Black Sea!” stressed the commissioner. She added that the European agenda aims for 7 million jobs in the maritime sector by 2020, developing the partnership in the Black Sea region.
Pragmatic approach, only way to tap into Black Sea region’s potential
The states from the Black Sea region can tap into the development potential of the area and create jobs only by adopting a pragmatic approach, based on the initiatives and proposals of the European Commission, as well as on cooperation, this was the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta message read by Environment Minister Rovana Plumb at the conference.
‘We already have important projects underway as regards the Black Sea, which prove the benefits of cooperation under solid partnerships and represent the prerequisites for achieving forward progress. We support a substantial, pragmatic and flexible interaction between the existing forms of cooperation. (…) We consider the Danube as a corridor easing connection between the European markets and the Black Sea, and as a result the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. We support enhanced complementarities between the domains of cooperation to the Black Sea and the priority areas of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region,’ the message reads. In addition, Ponta believes that the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) should benefit from the EU policies, initiatives and instruments.
In his turn, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean, attending the event, said Romania is ready to cooperate with all the parties interested in developing the Black Sea region. “The combination of the political wish and the concrete actions will offer us the possibility to capitalize on the remarkable potential of the region, which would also mean a contribution to the stability and security in the region as well as for our citizens”, Corlatean said. The minister stressed that Romania has, over time, argued in favour of both the regional cooperation and European regional policies. According to Corlatean, the Black Sea states should work together, create new projects and attach priority to those projects that can be implemented immediately.
The foreign minister stressed Romania hails the initialling and signing of the EU Association Agreements by Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. ‘These Agreements will boost the Black Sea cooperation too,’ he pointed out.

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