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Balfegó Group tuna vessel harvesting bluefin tuna

Eight purse seiners of Balfegó begin capture of 2,200 tons of bluefin tuna

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 20:00 (GMT + 9)

  • The fishing period, which is extended by one week, covers from May 26 to July 1 and the fleet commanded by Balfegó will leave for the Balearic fishing ground in the coming days
  • The company demands rigorous control for the transhipment of tuna to auxiliary vessels, moreover taking into account the events that have taken place in the sector in recent months

Madrid - The fleet commanded by Balfegó will start on May 26 the annual fishing campaign for bluefin tuna (Thunnus Thynnus) in the Balearic fishing ground. The main novelty of this season is that, for the first time, they will fish under a Management Plan, established by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), once the recovery of the species has been confirmed.

Bluefin tuna (Thunnus Thynnus)

Another novelty of this campaign is the increase in one week of the fishing period. Thus, Balfegó, a company specializing in fishing, aquaculture and trade of bluefin tuna, will have a month and a week (from May 26 to July 1) to capture the assigned quota, which this year amounts to 2,200 tons of the species. For this purpose, three boats based on L'Ametlla de Mar, two of them owned by the company (La Frau Dos and Tio Gel Segon) and a third Spanish flag fishing vessel, which will capture 70% of the quota. Five boats will join them more of French nationality, which will capture the remaining 30% and seventeen auxiliary vessels. The fishing campaign commanded by Balfegó will generate more than 200 jobs this year direct work.

Balfegó Group tuna vessels (Photo: Balfegó)

The company expects to capture its quota available in a few days, as has been the case in the last six years, provided the weather is good, as the abundance of bluefin tuna has been demonstrated. In fact, as the company recalls, in the last four seasons only four to six days of effective fishing were necessary to complete the quota corresponding to its fleet.

According to Balfegó, in addition to the large number of copies, which, in itself, shortens the time needed for captures, this reduction in fishing times also affects the investments made by the company to streamline its capture, transshipment and transport to its aquaculture cages in L'Ametlla de Mar. All this translates into a palpable increase in the eco-efficiency of the fleet and a reduction in its environmental impact.

For Juan Serrano, CEO of Balfegó, "First time fishing under a Management Plan means confirming that the recovery plan, which has cost so much effort to the sector in general and to our company in particular, it has been a success and that the species is recovered. It will also facilitate the campaign to have one more week of fishing, although we insist that it makes little sense to put a temporary limit on fishing for bluefin tuna that is already limited by quota. If the time comes, there will be no problem to capture our quota, since there is abundant tuna, which will allow us, one more year, to maintain our staff and ensure the supply to our customers. "

Control for tuna transshipment

Balfegó, who has been working for years to comply with the rules of sustainable and responsible fishing, asks ICCAT to establish strict control systems in the Mediterranean to prevent the possibility of transferring to an auxiliary vessel the tunas that are killed during the transfer - the art of purse seine captures live tuna, but casualties may occur during maneuvers - to prevent this new figure, even without documentary procedure, from becoming a gateway for criminal activities, moreover, the company points out, taking into account events that have occurred in the sector during the last months.

Successive Balfegó initiatives have contributed to the recovery of the species and the mandatory inclusion of various improvement practices in the bluefin tuna fishery and control measures, such as the presence of independent observers on board - this campaign will be accompanied by 8 members of The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) - Likewise, the fishing activities and the transfer of the tunas captured between swimming pools will be monitored by stereoscopic cameras that will allow to determine the weight of the specimens more accurately.

The company benefits from the gradual increase in the fishing quota of bluefin tuna, decreed from 2018 and until 2020 by ICCAT once its scientific committee ratifies that the stocks of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the eastern Atlantic are recovered and that their sustainability would be Guaranteed with higher quotas than there were 10 years ago. The agency, which manages this fishery internationally, decided last year to increase the fishing quota for bluefin tuna, although at a rate lower than Spanish expectations. Thus, as of 2018, a total of 28,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna were caught, which will increase to 32,000 tonnes in 2019 to reach 36,000 tonnes in 2020. The Spanish fleet as a whole will be able to catch 5,559 tonnes of bluefin tuna this year, against the 5,000,28 allocated for the 2018 campaign.


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