The Italian Foreign Ministry and the Lebanese government celebrated the 5th anniversary of the marine data-collecting ship the Cana. The data-collecting ship is part of a joint Italian-Lebanese initiative called Pesca Libano. This initiative provides fishery management technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture. During the celebration, a press conference was held where a group of Lebanese scientists and one Italian presented data collected over the past 5 years on pollution, coastal wildlife, hydrobiology, fishing practices, bottlenose dolphin sightings and other topics.
Fish stock levels of the Mediterranean Sea are at a very low level. According to the European Environment Agency over 65% of all fish stocks have exceeded biological limits. In fact, the IUCN estimates that 21 fish species in Lebanon are considered threatened. This render the Cana an important initiative because there is a severe shortage of data and information, a common problem in Lebanon, on the status of Lebanese fisheries. Lebanon’s coastal line is about 225 km and fishing is a common practice from the south to the north of the country. The average fisherman earns about 25% less than the country’s minimum wage; therefore, maintaining fish stock levels has major socioeconomic implications.