Bottom trawling and longline fishing have been banned from the Adriatic Basin, the basin under the Adriatic Sea known as Jabuka Pit.
The decision to support the Adriatic Recovery Project was made ahead of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) meeting in Ljubljana.
Greenpeace in Croatia, NAŠ Jadran, Ad Adriaticum, BIOM, Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance, Eco Hvar, Udruga Održivi Otok, and Udruga Zdravi Grad earlier urged Croatian Minister Tomislav Tolušić to promote the full protection of the Jabuka Pit from bottom trawling and set longliners.
In the Adriatic Sea, bottom trawling has been particularly intense in the last decades leading to the depletion of key demersal species such as European hake which is fished 5.5% over the sustainable limits, according to the Adriatic Recovery Project, and the destruction of marine habitats.
The decision is good news as Jabuka Pit is one of the few deep-sea areas of the Adriatic, hosting vulnerable marine ecosystems and the most important nursery and spawning grounds for hake, Norway lobster, horned octopus, and monkfish, all of which are key species for the fishing fleets operating in the area.
The importance of the Jabuka Pit area for benthic and demersal species is linked to its physical and oceanographic characteristics, which support the presence of Essential Fish Habitats in this area.
Croatia has been calling for the protection of the Jabuka Pit for a long time, but as most of the area falls in offshore waters which are an important fishing ground for the Italian fleet, conservation measures should be agreed within a multilateral framework.
The area will now be closed to fishing activities such as bottom trawling and set longliners.
“This is a key opportunity for Croatia to finally achieve the protection of the Pit contributing to the recovery the Central Adriatic and of the many species that depend on its ecosystem”, stated representatives of the united NGOs and civic initiatives.