Purse seiners. (Photo: ORoxo/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Marine fishing bill approved
Monday, April 14, 2014, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
After the proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), the Ministers’ Council has approved the draft amendment to the State Maritime Fishing Act with the aim of promoting a number of key priorities for fisheries policy in Spain.
Through the reform it is expected to "improve the socioeconomic situation of the fisheries and aquaculture sector through the recognition of equality of opportunity and treatment between men and women as well as enhancing their economic diversification," the Magrama reported.
It also seeks to encourage the active participation of women through a significant milestone that implies the recognition of equal treatment and opportunities principle for all workers, women and men.
The Government also intends that this project will serve to help combat illegal fishing, and to provide administrative simplification and modernization in areas such as records of fishing vessels or disciplinary proceedings in maritime fishing issues.
Furthermore, it is designed to boost coastal areas dependent on fisheries, and promote the generation of wealth and jobs through the development of complementary activities to the purely fishing activity, carried out by professionals in the sector.
With that goal, the new law includes a chapter devoted to the economic diversification of the sector.
Moreover, the reform aims to eliminate fisheries impunity, toughen punitive response to Administration given the illegal activities and to strengthen the regime of fishery product import control.
The new legislation defines different types of offenders related to incompliance as to imports of fishery products and links to vessels on international lists of illegal fishing.
Besides, it makes it possible to extend the scope of the sanction regime to act against foreign vessels whose flag State has not exercised its sanctioning competence and strengthens control over national vessels registered in third countries.
In short, Spain hopes to ensure that all fish that enter the EU market from third countries has been caught in accordance with conservation measures in force.
The approved project simplifies the current registration regime for fishing vessels through only two tools:
- The Census of Operative Fishing Fleet: it collects data on vessels operating in outside and inside waters simultaneously;
- The General Register of Fishing Fleet: it groups Census data on the Operative Fishing Fleet and those on the regional Census or Records on vessels operating exclusively in inland waters and those serving aquaculture facilities.
Among other important issues, Magrama remarks that the act stresses strengthening the powers of fisheries inspectors, the commitment for mechanisms having efficient and administration such as electronic communications, and promoting the donation of seized fisheries products to charities.
By Analia Murias