October 12, 2005

EU suggests controls to stop octopus overfishing

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Octopus, a delicacy in many
Mediterranean cuisines, may be at risk of dying out in EU
waters if controls are not enforced to stop overfishing,
particularly of younger ones, the EU executive said on

Far too many undersized octopuses were being sold in the 25
EU countries, leading to a depletion of stocks, the European
Commission said.

To curb the overfishing, it called for a minimum size for
octopus caught in eastern central Atlantic waters -- an area
extending into the mid-Atlantic roughly from Morocco down the
African coast to Congo, where many EU vessels operate.

While Spain and Portugal are the EU countries
geographically closest to this area, many European trawlers
also fish in African waters thanks to partnership agreements
that the EU has agreed with countries such as Morocco, Senegal
and Mauritania.

The minimum size suggested was 500 grams (1.1 lb), below
the standard 750 grams allowed within EU waters, but above
Senegal's 350 grams, the Commission said in a statement.

If agreed by EU fisheries ministers, the measure would
apply to octopus marketed anywhere in the bloc, whether caught
by EU or non-EU vessels.