Bluefin tuna capture. (Photo: madrimasd.org)
Legislation change allows Canary fleet to return to bluefin tuna fishery
Thursday, March 13, 2014, 03:10 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has amended the regulations governing the bluefin tuna fishery in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, allowing the Canary fleet to perform fishing activities targeting this species.
By Ministerial Order, the entity incorporated the developments that were approved at the last meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (ICCAT), held in November 2013 in Cape Town, where it was agreed to modify the ban periods in the Atlantic. This has opened the possibility for the Canary fleet to resume active fishing for this species, from which it was excluded in 2008 by imposing closure periods that matched the usual fishing season for bluefin tuna in Canarian waters.
With the new international standards, the contracting parties are allowed to communicate specific closure periods for the bluefin tuna in the Atlantic.
However, ICCAT rules do not usually enter into force until six months after their approval, so, at the request of Spain, their immediate entry into force has been approved at the ICCAT meeting held from 3 to 5 March in Madrid, which has made it possible to adapt the Spanish legislation through the new Ministerial Order.
Due to the ICCAT’s procedural requirements, this year's season will begin in Canary on 24 March, benefiting 181 ships from Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Tenerife.
The Canary fleet will maintain its 2013 quota to perform complementary captures, which is a quota that in 2014 will be destined to the authorized fleet for the fishing activity targeting this species.
This adaptation of the legislation does not alter the current quota allocation or harms other fleet segments. In addition, the new situation of the bluefin tuna fishery will be supplemented by tighter control measures to avoid exceeding the allocated quota.
Another key aspect of the new order is focused on improving and easing the conditions applicable to the quota transfers between vessels of the specific bluefin tuna census. Temporary transfers are now allowed for two consecutive years or three years, in an alternative five-year period of the total available quota. Once these margins are covered, the grantor vessel disappears from the census and its quota is intended to proportionately increase that of the vessels from the same group or the fleet segment.