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Opening ceremony: Emilio Martínez Cadilla, Enrique López Veiga, Ramón de la Figuera and Edelmiro Ulloa

FIP BLUES approves its Action Plan for the next five years

EUROPEAN UNION
Thursday, June 13, 2019, 13:00 (GMT + 9)

FIP BLUES, the first global fisheries improvement project that includes the shark, together with swordfish, approved yesterday in Vigo its road map for the next five years. This Action Plan comprises five major measures derived from a pre-evaluation carried out by a consultant, who through an exhaustive data collection work detected the strengths and aspects in which the sector should improve to achieve the level of excellence.

In this sense, and as a conclusion of the conference, Edelmiro Ulloa, of the OPPC-3, highlighted the following aspects: the generalized consensus of the attendees about timing and suitability of the implementation of this FIP, "because the sector has been taking measures for a long time and this project will put them in value"; the possibility offered by FIP BLUES to project at an international level the improvements made in this fishery, and the ability of this project to make visible "that we are a world-wide reference".

On behalf of the commercialization industry, Emilio Martínez Cadilla, spokesperson of ANECTEAM, supported the work that has been done jointly with the fleet in recent years, which has been the seed of this initiative: "For us, FIP BLUES is a commitment to sustainability, it means having an element of differentiation and distinction of our products, compared to others obtained with unsustainable practices. In short, that the consumer can recognize them when making the purchase decision."

A few words very in tune with those that were heard by the authorities at the opening ceremony of the session held at the Port Authority of Vigo, in which the president of the institution, Enrique López Veiga offered to collaborate on the project, which already has the support of the General Secretariat of Fisheries. In this line, the Deputy Director of Agreements and Regional Fisheries Organizations of the Secretariat, Ramón de la Figuera Morales, stressed the importance of the measures adopted and made explicit the support of Madrid for the initiative, underlining the "total and determined support of the Secretariat" to the content of the approved Action Plan, as well as to any other future initiative linked to it.

Representatives of the organizations that make up FIP BLUES.

For her part, Fisheries Director at the Galician Ministry of Marine Affairs, Mercedes Rodríguez supported all the work carried out by the industry and the Galician longline fleet, which she described as "an example of sustainability and responsibility towards the practices from other countries" Rodríguez also stressed the importance of the international dimension of FIP BLUES, insisting on the need of having the same playing field for all.

Previously, Xoán Lueiro, of the consultancy that was in charge of analyzing the data for the pre-evaluation, highlighted the aspects in which the fleet developing the Fisheries Improvement Project should focus in the next five years, in collaboration with the administrations and Regional fisheries organizations:

1.- Develop a capture and management strategy. The objective of this measure is for FIP BLUES to be involved in the management process for blue sharks and swordfish and in the consequent development of catch control regulations. This would involve evaluating the information and providing the necessary data that will serve to develop proposals to be delivered to ICCAT.

2.- Provide reliable data on catches and interactions with species related to the fishery. This is already being done, although what is intended is to promote the reporting of all catches or sightings of endangered or protected species.

3.- Increase the coverage of on-board observers and provide more and better reliable scientific information.

4.- Obtain a more extensive and detailed knowledge about impacts on the species related to the fishery and materialize the results in the form of a pilot / experimental action to prove its efficiency.

5.- Transfer what is being done to public opinion. In this sense, FIP BLUES should be the ideal tool to deny information, in some cases interested, about a specific fishery, such as the shark fishery, in which producers have been working for many years to develop sustainability policies. In fact, the EU fleet is the most responsible in the fishing of this species, being the only one that has complied with the "finning" prohibition (a practice that consists in removing the fins from sharks and returning the mutilated body to the sea) and the only one that has decided, unilaterally, to stop capturing species considered as sensitive, such as thresher sharks or hammerhead sharks, porbeagle sharks and white shortfin makos.

The importance of FIP BLUES

The FIP Blues is a pioneering initiative involving four fishing producer organizations -Opromar, Orpagu, the Organization of Fishing Producers of Lugo (OPP-7) and the Organization Producers of Freezer Vessels of Hake, Cephalopods and Various Species (OPPC-3), and the companies that make up the ANECTEAM association (Espaderos del Atlántico, Mascato, Bencemar, Pérez Piñeiro , Hnos. Fernández Ibáñez, Casa Botas, Congelados Maravilla, Fandicosta, Peixemar, Frozen Noribérica, Allpelagic, Marfrío, and Brasmar).

It is important to highlight the fact that it is an unprecedented alliance of the commercialization and fishing sector, and also the size of the union, since it represents 95% of the EU surface longline fleet that operates in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, as well as 80% of the supply chain.

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