On the occasion of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries held on 14th November, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, Isabel García Tejerina, expressed her confidence in improving significantly the European Commission‘s proposal on possibilities Of deep-sea fishing, arguing that no sharp reductions should be established for the next two years.
According to the Minister assured, Spain has worked to offer arguments with a view to improving considerably the Commission’s proposal in any of the species. In particular, she has indicated the interest of the Spanish fleet by the capture of species like the sea bream, the brótolas, the grenadiers and the alfonsinos.
Although deep-sea fishing accounts for only one per cent of the Spanish fleet as a whole, Spain considers it essential to defend the maximum possible catch, because for some segments of the fleet these fisheries are important
In this regard, the Minister assured that “Spain will defend, as we have always done, that it is not possible to make abrupt reductions in fishing opportunities from one year to the next”. As she stressed, “no proposals can be submitted that condition the socio-economic viability of the fishing fleet”.
Proposed discarding not feasible
Another of the points defended by Spain in the Council of Ministers of the EU is the unfeasibility of the system of discards as it raises the Commission. According to García Tejerina, the combination of TACs and quotas together with the compulsory landing may lead to significant closure of fishery earlier than expected, because the quotas for accessory species, not for the main species, are terminated.
According to the Minister, thanks to the Spanish position, when the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy was made, important flexibilities were achieved that alleviate this situation, but are not enough
For all of the above, Spain has taken advantage of the latest Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the EU, “to send a clear signal to the Commission to make it more flexible and, if necessary, to revise some aspects with the objective that, in the future, the combination of limiting catches through quotas together with the obligatory nature of landings will not lead to the paralysis of the fleets, said Garcia Tejerina.
Management plans for bluefin tuna
Regarding the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), held in Portugal, García Tejerina recalled how Spain has been defending the good status of bluefin tuna, thanks to the effort made by fishermen to important adjustment measures.
The minister says that Spain is able to implement bluefin tuna management plans up to a maximum of 30,000 tonnes, as the current state of biomass allows to reward the efforts of fishermen in recent years
With respect to swordfish, Tejerina points out that although the state of conservation is worse than that of bluefin tuna, the recovery measures adopted should be gradual, taking into account the historical catches of the last years, if the catches must be distributed between fleets.
For the Minister, bearing in mind that the fleets that catch both species are many times the same, the reductions that are adopted with respect to the swordfish should be matched by improvements in the catches of bluefin tuna.