Magrama and Opescantabrico representatives discussing measures to improve horse mackerel sustainability. (Photo: MAGRAMA)
In search of appropriate management for horse mackerel
Thursday, April 12, 2012, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) extended to non-member producers of the Association of Fish Producer Organisations of Biscay (Opescantábrico) several provisions aimed at achieving improved sustainability of horse mackerel in Cantabria, Galicia, Principality of Asturias and the Basque Country.
Under the new rules published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE), the main objective is to achieve the proper management of the fishery in the Northwest Cantabrian, setting daily catch ceilings.
For the development of this initiative the industry and the affected regions were consulted, the agency Europa Press reported.
For fishing with purse seine, the Government determined that catches and landings of the Spanish fleet may not exceed 12,000 kilograms of horse mackerel per boat per week.
This volume will be applied in the offshore waters of the Northwest Cantabrian fishing grounds and shall not exceed the ceiling of 6,000 kg per day.
Specifically, this measure will be applied in the area between the mouths of the rivers Miño and Bidasoa, covering the autonomous regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country.
For fishing with gear other than purse seine and trawl, catches and landings shall not exceed 200 kg of horse mackerel per vessel per week.
This standard will be extended until 90 days after its entry into force.
Currently, the fisheries sector of the Northwest Cantabrian faces a difficult situation due to the shortage of fishing quotas after the sanction imposed by the European Commission (EC) to Spain as a result of overfishing on various resources in 2011, reported the newspaper La Opinion.
One of the most worrying cases is that of horse mackerel, since the fine of Brussels implies the loss of more than half of the catch possibilities for 2012 in waters of the north and the northwest of Spain – the Cantabrian fishing grounds up to Finisterre, known as the area VIIIc – that is to say, about 11,623.9 tonnes of the 22,409 tonnes that had been allocated to the Spanish fleet this year.
Meanwhile, on the coasts of Galicia and Portugal – an area known as IXa -- the sanction for overfishing involves the removal of 681.2 tonnes from 7,969 tonnes, as it is referred to by the data provided by the Directorate General of Fisheries and Aquaculture to the Spanish associations of shipowners and of fishermen in late March.
In waters of the Cantabrian Sea, purse seine and small-scale vessels have only 23 per cent of the fishing possibilities of horse mackerel that they initially had, after the deduction of the amounts to pay the fine and the catches performed in the first quarter of 2012.
Purse seine vessels will be able to fish 2,384 tonnes of horse mackerel -- 794.7 tonnes per quarter -- until the end of the year compared to 2,577 tonnes caught in the first three months.
Meanwhile, artisanal vessels have 401 tonnes -- 133.7 tonnes per quarter -- compared with 433 tonnes of horse mackerel caught between January and March 2012.
- Horse mackerel fishery closed in Bay of Biscay
By Analia Murias