Target: Gian Luca Galletti, Italy’s Minister of the Environment
Goal: Restore the population and habitat range of the rare and endangered Maltese ray, Leucoraja melitensis, by limiting and monitoring fishing vessels in the western Mediterranean Sea.
The Maltese skate is a critically endangered skate native to the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Today, its range of habitat has been reduced to a relatively small area in the Strait of Sicily, between Tunisia and southern Italy. The elusive creature, about which little is actually known, spends most of its life deep in the ocean. However, its deep-dwelling status has not kept it safe from ocean trawlers: Once much more abundant than it is now, the ray has been fished to near-extinction. While the skate is itself rarely ever the target of fishing vessels, it often finds its way into nets as a kind of by-catch.
In 2010, Greenpeace International added the Maltese skate to its seafood red list, indicating that the skate suffers from low stock numbers and irresponsible fishing practices, and is a species tied to the wider destabilization of the ocean’s food chain. As part of the ongoing and critical process of restoring the oceans to a state of health, species like the Maltese skate cannot be ignored. Demand that this vulnerable species be protected before it’s too late by signing below.
Dear Minister Galletti,
The elusive Maltese skate is currently facing extinction, and the open ocean of Italy is one of the only known areas where the species still survives — albeit in rapidly diminishing numbers. The skate continues to suffer from unsustainable and irresponsible fishing practices, and often ends up dying as a form of by-catch at the mercy of fishing trawlers.
Please pressure your governments and ministries of environment to do more to protect the Maltese skate and other skate species in the Mediterranean. They are today faced with the prospect of permanent extinction, and are likely the very last of their kind.
[Your Name Here]
Image credit: Robert Clark