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"Only united we can overcome all challenges in order to achieve the common goal of preserving the Black Sea and its ecosystems." This was announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porodzanov at a high-level conference on fisheries and aquaculture in the Black Sea, which took place in Sofia. He thanked the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean to FAO and the European Commission for the assistance and support in the organization of this significant event for our country and the region. 

"Fishery is not only an option but a responsibility. For that reason, the conservation of fish resources and their responsible exploitation should be one of our main priorities in the decision making process, "the Bulgarian Minister said. He also added that we need to search for the balance of effective and enforceable legal instruments, systematic scientific assessments, more reliable data collection and control systems, including for the fight against illegal fishing. The existing results of the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy in the Black Sea waters and following of the regional approach give us a reason to be hopeful for the success of the chosen direction and for ensuring economic growth and stable employment in the region.

A Joint Declaration on Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Black Sea was signed at the end of the conference. With it, riparian countries are committed to strengthen cooperation with each other. The declaration is "open" for joining by other countries.

"All countries in their statements have declared readiness for joint efforts to combat illegal catches and to co-operate in overcoming the common challenges," said the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. He underlined that all the countries that participated in the conference support the ideas expressed in the Declaration on tackling illegal practices, supporting small-scale fisheries and developing aquaculture in the Black Sea region.

"It is a matter of time this declaration to be signed by all," said the Executive Secretary of General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean to FAO, Abdellah Srour.

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