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The fishing sector conveys to Luis Planas its frustration over the agreements of the EU Fisheries Council on the Mediterranean

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 19:00 (GMT + 9)

Madrid - The Spanish fishing sector has conveyed to Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in a meeting held today, its frustration after the agreements adopted in the Fisheries Council of the European Union, held on 15 and 16 of December, and warns that such measures seriously endanger the maintenance of social and economic balance in the Spanish Mediterranean. It should be recalled that the Council agreed on an additional real reduction of 8.3% in fishing days, complementary measures for new areas closed to fishing and the commitment of Spain and France to send the Commission a proposal to apply selective technical measures to fishing gear, in June of this year.

The sector, which during the meeting conveyed to Planas that the European Commission continues to be insensitive to fishermen and despises their knowledge of the situation in this sea, also considers that a very accelerated policy is being developed in the application of the Regulation and that only takes into account the environmental aspect, avoiding the economic and social pillars. He also believes that it is being implemented without sufficient scientific endorsement to justify the measures.

In this regard, the sector reminded the minister that the scientific data on which the Commission's proposal was based was outdated (they correspond to 2017/2018) and that they also do not assess the implementation of the first year of the regulation, which meant a reduction 21% of the fishing effort and the creation of temporary space closure zones. And remember that the FAO, before the application of the first year of the regulation, already stated that 60% of the stocks are not evaluated and that even recognizing that overfishing, “the panorama had improved, decreasing fish populations by 10%. overexploited ”.

The sector has also reminded Planas that it had the Government's commitment to a non-traumatic application for fishermen, in such a way that it would allow them to reach the maximum sustainable yield (RMS) in 2025 without the need to close companies, definitive mooring of boats. and the destruction of jobs. In fact, points out the sector, apart from the disappearance of 40% of the fishing fleet in the last decade, the situation can have a drastic social impact on 587 boats and 3,600 direct jobs, in addition to producing a drop in the supply of the fish markets that will entail another number of buyers and that will affect the artisanal fleet, as they cannot commercialize their catches.

Likewise, the sector has told the minister that, during the first year of life of the regulation, the fleet assumed a reduction of more than 21% (from 122,321 days to 96,246) and not 10% as established by the European Regulation, and that for this year, the 8.3% reduction will mean assuming a 29% reduction in fishing effort in its first two years of application.

Likewise, it has pointed out the existence of discrimination against the rest of fishermen affected by the community plan, since Spain maintains 12 hours a day of fishing, and the other member states between 15 and 18. That means, according to the sector, that a boat Spanish starts from the first of January with 55 days less fishing than one from another country.

At the meeting, the sector informed Planas that, in its opinion, Mediterranean fishermen have already achieved a reduction of almost 40% of the effort foreseen in the plan until 2025 and that trawling cannot assume any effort cut moreover, as "the requirements of the Multi-Year Management Plan have been more than fulfilled."

Fishermen have informed Planas of the need to update the results of the evaluation of the implementation of the regulation in the 2020/2021 period and take into account that almost in the entire Mediterranean there will be two months of temporary stoppage during this year , which translates into a reduction in fishing effort, "although the Commission does not value it in the same way." He has also transmitted to Planas that the days not used in 2020 (around 13,842) must be considered as a reduction in fishing effort and their percentage must be subtracted from the 8.3% contemplated for 2021.

Likewise, the sector has expressed during all the meetings held on the Mediterranean the need to have scientists, for which it requests that meetings be organized as soon as possible with the IEO, the CSIC and the General Secretariat for Fisheries (SGP). He also told the minister that, given the commitment reached by Spain in the December Council to study possible actions aimed at selectivity in the arts, it is necessary to carry out pilot actions to determine which measures are the most appropriate and which can be assumed by the sector.

The sector recalls that the SGP undertook to work on modifying the regulations and "the time has come to begin these works, as well as the modification of the Ministerial Order," he points out. Likewise, it has requested the expediting of the processing of temporary stops.

Finally, the sector has once again reminded Minister Planas that the fishing activity is only held responsible for the situation of fish populations in the Mediterranean, without considering the threats of pollution, coastal demographic pressure, climate change, the lack of water purification or the progressive presence of invasive species.

At the end of the meeting, it has been agreed to establish a calendar of meetings in order to try to minimize the impact of the negative agreements of the Council and to start the work of evaluating selectivity of the arts.

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