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Unload of fresh mackerel

Scientists raise 140% mackerel quota proposal

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 21:00 (GMT + 9)

The scientists recommend a 140% increase in their proposal for a quota of mackerel, causing the fleet to be indignant when the season is closed. Last October, scientists from ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) launched their advice to the European Commission on the mackerel or horse mackerel fishery not recommending any increase to allow fishing of 318,403 tonnes, 42% less than the recommendation they had done for the previous year, 2018.

Fishing mackerel with rigging (line)►

«Despite this, the TAC (total allowable catches) was reduced by 24% compared to 2018 and was established at 653,438 tons. "If a trawler had 80 or 90 tons last year, it has had to be fixed with 50 or 55 », says Juan Carlos Corrás, manager of the Coruña organization Pescagalicia. That has caused not a few upsets to the fleet just in the year in which the landing obligation debuted.

With the waters plagued with mackerel, they were obliged to lengthen the route and change fishing grounds in order not to fish the species and exhaust the quota ahead of time. That without entering into the disputes, strikes and protests that the scarcity of quota caused in the lowlands. A campaign that, in the case of the fleet of A Coruña, gave to fish eight days and that because there were several in which the bad weather did not allow to fish.

And after all these efforts and straits, when only the laggards remain behind, the fleet receives with surprise and indignation a new ICES report in which it reviews its advice - at the request of Norway - and recommends that the catches for this year they do not exceed 770,358 tons. «In short, that from October to May, scientists have varied the recommendation by more than 140%. Now what is the Commission going to do? "Asks Corrás. "What is clear is that mackerel does not return to Galicia until next year," he reproaches.

Mackerel freshly caught by the rigging

Fines, a handicap

The manager of Pescagalicia points out that it is now the EU that must make the decision to correct the catch limits. And if in the case of the Galician fleet, the amendment is already too late, unless the corresponding part of that difference between the TAC approved and the new ICES recommendation (116,920 tons) is used "to compensate this fine overfishing from previous years that has never been paid ». At least that is what the shipowners will request if the quota is modified upwards. That, and that Brussels does not take the scientific proposals to heart and assumes that their evaluations may also be wrong. Says the manager of a group that has already suffered the socio-economic consequences of some draconian cuts in hake quota that were later corrected because scientists discovered that the species was growing twice as fast as they thought. Only that by then "several of us had stayed on the road".

Source: Europa Azul

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