Street artists have created pieces to pass on the message about the importance of fish sustainability, to coincide with the Our Ocean conference being held in Malta today and tomorrow.

Maltese street artist Twitch collaborated with activist NGO Our Fish to create a spectacular light painting, depicting a ghostly swordfish leaping out of the waters surrounding Valletta.

In the meantime, Italian street artist Vera Bugatti created a 3x6m canvas that challenges us to see overfishing from the point of view of the marine life itself. It will be on display in Spinola Bay from 4pm this Thursday afternoon.

Twitch's 'ghostly' swordfish.Twitch's 'ghostly' swordfish.

Michelin-starred chefs also joined the artists to demand urgent action on the region's growing fisheries crisis from ministers of the EU’s Mediterranean nations and EU Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

“When artists and chefs are asking what we will eat if all the Mediterranean's fish are gone, we’re wondering why leaders at the Our Ocean conference are not asking themselves the same question,” said Rebecca Hubbard, program director for Our Fish.

“It’s not enough for EU fisheries ministers to celebrate signing declarations of intent for the Mediterranean: they need to make good on the intentions, by acting now to protect our fish stocks.”

In a letter addressed to Commissioner Vella, and Fisheries Ministers from Italy, Spain and France, chefs Massimo Bottura (It), Paco Morales (Es), Christopher Coutanceau (Fr), David Ariza Abad (Es), Valerio Calabrese (It), Nicola Attianese and Filomena D'Uva (It) wrote: “Mediterranean fisheries still have a chance. They may be 96% overfished, but if urgent action is taken to halt their overexploitation, these EU fish stocks have a good chance of rebounding to more sustainable levels by 2020. What’s needed is political will from Mediterranean EU nations to take real action, and to take it now, before, it’s too late.”

Currently, 96% of EU Mediterranean stocks are overfished. Official discards - fish caught but thrown back dead or dying - are estimated at 230,000 tonnes per year (18% of Mediterranean fish catches) – not including what goes unreported.

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