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Trap net fishery in Barbate. (Photo: Junta Rectora del Parque Natural del Acantilado y Pinar de Barbate)

Basque fishermen sell their tuna quota to trap net fishery in Barbate

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Friday, May 03, 2013, 04:40 (GMT + 9)

The trap net fishery in Barbate (Cádiz), a company formed by the firms Grupo Petacas Chico SL and Ricardo Fuentes, acquired all the fishing quota for bluefin tuna in the Basque Country and Cantabria: a total of 450 tonnes.

The Basque fleet took the decision due to the fact that the reduction of the bluefin tuna is considered to make this fishery unprofitable for the sector.

In 2012, it had sold 70 per cent of the quota to a company in Murcia to obtain income.

Pedro Muñoz, representative of the Petacas Chico group, confirmed that the fishermen in Barbate this year will be allocated a quota of 700 tonnes, while last year they were only able to catch 180 tonnes, Diario de Jerez reported.

"It was necessary to take the plunge and we have done so, we have taken a step forward and assumed the risks of the transaction. We believe that there is sufficient tuna and now what we need is to be able to capture those nearly 700 tonnes," the executive pointed out.

Besides, the Secretary of the Fishermen's Association of Gipuzkoa, Miren Garmendia, told the agency Europa Press that "100% has been sold" of the Basque quota to the trap fishery in Barbate.

The Basque fishermen will receive almost EUR 5 million, which will be equally shared among the employers and the sailors of the 43 inshore vessels forming part of the fleet.

"Undoubtedly, this will be good for the people because we will need more staff both at sea and on land when cutting up the tuna and preparing them for transport," added Muñoz.

The sale was completed by telephone, although the agreement was drafted in Brussels last week with the Secretary of the Fishermen's Association of the Basque Country. Then, the contracts were signed and sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama).

For Muñoz, the agreement is good even for the species, since the trap fishery fishers capture tuna specimens that are over 14 years, weighing an average of 150-200 kilos, while the Basque fishermen "catch younger tuna specimens, which weigh 40 to 50 kilos."

Meanwhile, Rafael Quirós, mayor of Barbate, described the news as "very important" for this town and for the whole province.

"Barbate will become the first farmer in Andalusia, because they will fatten nearly 1,000 tonnes of tuna and also another 500 of bream and sea bass. This will imply an increase in jobs, which is important for an area where the stoppage rate is very high," he added.

"It does not only imply catching the tuna because now it is also necessary to fatten them, and for that mackerel specimens are used. I believe that about 30,000 kilos of mackerel are needed a day to feed them, and there must be people to fish, freeze, and thaw these mackerel specimens, and use them to feed the tuna," explained the mayor.

Related article:

- Cadiz almadrabas still unaware of bluefin tuna quota

By Analia Murias
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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