An almadraba in Cádiz. (Photo: Trap Net Fish Producers Organisation)
Almadrabas may fatten tuna
Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
The Spanish government approved the request from almadrabas (trap net fisheries) proposing to carry out the fattening of tuna in nets, before their capture, to increase their commercial value.
However, the authorization is subject to the approval of the European Commission (EC) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Furthermore, it is also necessary for the Government of Andalusia, as a competent authority, to issue the permits.
In early 2012, the Organization of Fish Producers of Almadrabas (OPP51) applied for permits to the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Food. The request was made once more in the Ministry of Fisheries at a meeting held in February.
Finally, on Monday 26 the Ministry gave rise to the claims. OPP-51 manager, Diego Crespo, expressed satisfaction with the authorization.
In their request, the almadraba fishermen point out that even though Spain has had the authorization for 14 fattening facilities for many years, only three have been used due to market adjustment on account of the decline of the schools.
Barbate almadraba was a pioneer in implementing this new fattening technique last year. Now, Conil, Zahara and Tarifa sites have joined in their request to enter this new business.
The new strategy consists in enabling a net cage next to the almadraba, which receives a part of the catch to fatten them with mackerel, sardines and horse mackerel. The aim is that the tuna specimens increase their size and therefore, their value.
After four or five months of fattening the specimens, fishermen catch the tuna if they have the suitable weight and if the market situation is favourable.
Crespo said that this year it will be a trial as except for Barbate, there is no previous experience.
However, OPP-51 argues that this new initiative will make it possible for almadrabas "not to concentrate all their efforts in only one activity during the whole season," Diario de Jerez reported.
For 2012, the almadrabas have a TAC of 637 tonnes, similar to last year. This is a historic low TAC so the fleet expects the government succeeds in obtaining a few tonnes more through the negotiation with other countries or by trading quota with other national fleets.
On the other hand, tuna fishermen expect the Ministry subscribes to maintain the scientific survey of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) of the fishing activity in Cadiz, which is helpful to analyze the evolution of the species and to ensure the fishing activity.
In this sense, Marta Crespo, OPP-51 spokesperson, also expressed concern about the lack of response from the Ministry on this issue. She recalled that during the last election campaign, both the Minister Miguel Arias Cañete as well as the Andalusian PP leader, Javier Arenas, pledged to keep the observatory surveys.
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By Silvina Corniola