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Commercial Fishing



Rousing musical demand to end Baltic overfishing. As EU fisheries ministers arrived for the AGRIFISH Council meeting early today in Luxembourg, they received a musical exhortation from a quartet of classical musicians and an opera singer, calling on them to Listen to the Ocean and the science, by setting fishing limits within scientific advice.

Arel Ensemble performed excerpts from String Quartet No. 4 by Bacewicz, String Quartet No. 8 by Shostakovich, String Quartet in E Minor by Czerny, and Movement for String Quartet by Copland, and were joined by mezzo-soprano opera singer Luisa Mauro for Il Tramonto by Respighi outside the European Convention Centre in Luxembourg, where EU fisheries ministers are gathering to set fishing limits for Baltic Sea fish populations for 2022. EU Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius attended the performance.

“I’m performing this morning because I am sensitive to the future of our planet and music is my way of expression”, said mezzo-soprano opera singer Luisa Mauro.”I believe it is important to use an ecosystem-based approach to regulate access to marine resources, in order to ensure sustainability, and to prohibit destructive fishing methods”.

“The Arel Ensemble is proud to play outside the AGRIFISH meeting here in Luxembourg this morning, to promote the need to fight for the planet and a better, sustainable future!” said Bartłomiej Ciastoń, first violin. “With our Polish roots, the musicians of Arel Ensemble are well placed to respond to, and understand the need, to protect the Baltic Sea from overfishing. As musicians, we are taking action to preserve nature and help the marine environment in a way that we do the best and with heart – by playing music”.

“Today, the EU AGRIFISH Council will set fishing limits for Baltic Sea fish populations for 2022. We are running against the clock to stop the collapse of the Baltic Sea ecosystem and deliver on political promises to halt the climate and nature crises”, said Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Programme Director. “The setting of fishing opportunities at sustainable levels is an essential precondition to deliver on these promises. Baltic Fisheries Ministers must listen to the ocean and the science, by setting fishing limits within scientific advice.”

See Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2022

“Fisheries ministers have repeatedly set fishing limits for Baltic Sea fish stocks above scientific advice over the past decade, leading to huge declines in fish populations”, continued Hubbard. “In 2020, ministers improved on their track record, however they still set one fifth of fishing limits in the Baltic Sea above the best available scientific advice, thereby contravening the deadline to end overfishing by 2020, and failing to avert an ecological crisis [1,2]”.

“Unsurprisingly, this year, the health of fish populations in the Baltic Sea has worsened, with annual scientific advice by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) proposing closure of the fisheries for eastern Baltic cod, western herring and western Baltic cod, as well as effective protection of cod spawning grounds from all fishing, and drastic cuts in salmon fishing [3,4].”

“This week, during the AGRIFISH Council, EU Fisheries Ministers must pull out all stops to counteract the decline of Baltic Sea fish populations. They need to follow the advice of scientists: by stopping fishing of eastern Baltic cod, western herring and western Baltic cod, and making drastic cuts in salmon fishing, if we are to have any hope of Baltic fisheries rebuilding and providing fishing communities a livelihood in the future” concluded Hubbard.

About the musicians:
Arel Ensemble is a string quartet based in Belgium and Luxembourg. Its musicians are members of the finest orchestras in the Benelux region and devoted chamber music players.

Luisa Mauro is a mezzo-soprano opera singer who has performed across Europe and Asia in festivals, concert houses and recorded for Stradivarius label. She teaches vocal technique, interpretation and linguistic support, and in 2019 received the nomination of Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.