The once-abundant Mediterranean Sea is at the center of an overfishing crisis. Increased fishing capacity has placed these waters under unsustainable pressure, leading to recent estimates that over 87% of assessed Mediterranean fish stocks are overfished.
To improve coverage and inform the public of the implications of this deepening conservation crisis, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) launched the Mediterranean Media Initiative, a two-year project in March this year, with the aim of supporting journalists and media organizations from the region to report more effectively on marine issues: from the impact of destructive fishing practices to the threats posed by mining, pollution and illegal trafficking of marine biodiversity.
"We are pleased to build the capacity of journalists to bring more attention to the scale of unsustainable marine management of the Mediterranean Sea," says Adelie de Soumagnat, Project Associate, Mediterranean Media Initiative. "With EJN support, the selected journalists will shed light on the impact of harmful practices such as the trafficking of endangered species, bottom trawling and marine pollution, while also highlighting existing solutions."
So far, EJN has awarded story grants to nine journalists from the Mediterranean region.
As part of the project’s first Med-wide story grant opportunity, EJN selected proposals from journalists seeking to expose the scale of unsustainable marine management, biodiversity loss and illegal fishing in the region.
Angela Bolis published a story on the red lobster overfishing crisis in Corsica, France (Le Monde).
Coline Charbonnier and Leila Berrato will explore the potential resilience impacts – and limitations – of artificial reefs in Marseille, France and in Oran and Annaba in Algeria. (15 - 38 Mediterranee)
Andrea Giambartolomei will produce an investigative story focusing on emerging trends in the sea cucumber trade in the Puglia region of Italy. (Lavialibera)
Stefano Valentino will report on the loopholes in EU legislation which still allow bottom trawling in areas of the Mediterranean which should be protected, using AIS data analysis and other open data sources. (Il Fatto Quotidiano)
EJN also offering reporting grants to journalists from Tunisia interested in developing in-depth stories exposing the scale of unsustainable marine management and biodiversity loss in the Mediterranean Sea.
Achref Chibani will look into the impact of invasive non-indigenous species in Tunisian waters, focusing on blue crabs. He will also consider the policies adopted by Tunisia and other Mediterranean countries to address the growing issue. (Youth Magazine)
Khedir Mabrouka will produce a short documentary on a traditional Tunisian fishing technique called the drina. (Diwan FM)
Bahira Ouji Dlensi will investigate offshore oil companies in Sfax, Tunisia, and how their activities have impacted marine biodiversity. (Diwan FM)
Saida Zemzemi will produce a report highlighting some of the most overfished marine species in Tunisian waters. (Albiaanews)
Look out for these grantees’ stories in the coming month on the EJN website.
Banner image: A Mediterranean sea cucumber (Holothuria tubulosa), observed in Banyuls-sur-Mer, France / Credit: Renaud Coupa via Wikimedia Commons.