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Isabel Artime meeting at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of Fisheries with the Fisheries General Directors of the 5 Autonomous Communities

Central Government and Autonomous Communities analyze multi-year plan measures for the western Mediterranean

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 21:30 (GMT + 9)

The General Director of Fisheries Resources, Isabel Artime, and the Fisheries Directors of the five autonomous communities of the Mediterranean analyzed the main measures to be implemented with the new regulation of the European Parliament and the Council, which establishes a multi-year plan for demersal fishing in the Mediterranean.

This regulation, which is expected to be published in the coming months, was approved by the plenary of the European Parliament on 4 April, following an intense negotiation process within the European institutions, together with the affected Member States (Spain, France and Italy) during 2018.

The position defended by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during this process made it possible to reach a balanced agreement between the biological and socioeconomic aspects, achieving the best possible agreement for the interests of the Spanish trawling fleet.

Thus, the approved plan is based on a fishing effort regime of fishing days, which avoids the application of a system based on total allowable catches (TACs) initially proposed by the Commission. It aims to achieve the objectives of the common fisheries policy to reach the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in this fishing ground, which is made more flexible, allowing it to be reached after five years after its approval, as well as guaranteeing the elimination of discards.

In the meeting held with the autonomous communities, a first analysis of the new measures to be developed was carried out, such as the calculation of fishing days assigned to each fleet segment and type of fishery (demersal coastal fishery and red shrimp deep-sea fishery), whose base of reference will be the average of the days exercised during the period 2015-2017, obtained from the data of on-board newspapers and electronic journals (DEA).

According to the provisions of the regulation, in the first year of the plan, the effort must be reduced by 10 per cent and in the following four years up to a maximum of an additional 30 per cent, depending on the situation of the stock. At the meeting, different elements were proposed that will allow incorporating this initial reduction with the minimum possible impact, although it will be necessary to continue analyzing and agreeing on the technical meetings planned with the European Commission.

Another measure discussed was the delimitation of alternative closed areas, which guarantee the survival of at least 20 per cent of the hake fry and that must have adequate scientific justification. The effort already made by the sector for its analysis and incorporation into the management plan as a whole was highlighted.

Fishing fleet by Autonomous Communities | Click on the photo to enlarge

These closed zones are alternatives to the generalized establishment of a three-month closure to the 100-meter or 6-nautical-mile isobath from the coast - except in the areas of more than 100 meters - proposed by the plan, and which would cause serious damage for the sustainability of the fishing sector. These alternatives are expected to be presented to Brussels around the end of June, so they can be applied once the regulation comes into force.

The options for aids to the final stoppage that the multi-year plan allows were also discussed, although the Secretariat of Fisheries considers that this option is not desirable to achieve the pursued socio-economic balance of the fleet as a whole, although it will allow an orderly departure from units if necessary.

In the coming days it is planned to convene a meeting with the representatives of the fishing sector, where the analysis of the measures established in the multi-year plan will be continued, which will allow reaching the greatest possible consensus around the most appropriate management formula for its application.


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