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Bluefin tuna. (Photo: Stock File)

Govt proposes new rule for bluefin tuna quota allocation

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 02:10 (GMT + 9)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment (MAPAMA) has presented representatives of the autonomous communities and the sectors involved in the bluefin tuna fishery the Royal Decree project that will regulate fishing of this resource in Spanish waters in the coming years.

The rule will establish a new distribution of fishing quotas, once the scientific committee of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has determined that the recovery of this tuna is already a reality.

In this regard, at its 25th ordinary meeting to be held between November 14 and 22 in Marrakech, Morocco, a total allowable catch of 36,000 tonnes will be presumably set for 2020.

Faced with this recovery, MAPAMA has decided to replace the current tuna fishing regulation contained in Order APM/264/2017, dated March 23, and propose the sector a new standard, with the rank of Royal Decree.

The project proposes to detract 5.8452 per cent of the highly dependent fleets to increase the quota of the fleets that were affected by the restrictive measures of the recovery plan that now ends.

It also proposes to grant almost 8 per cent to the fleet of the Canary Islands, 2.87 per cent to the fleets of small-scale gear of the Mediterranean and 1.29 per cent to the small-scale gear of the limited capture strait.

In addition, this standard reimburses the bycatch to the surface longline fleet of the Atlantic so that it can retake any possible catches that may occur in its activity directed at swordfish and pelagic sharks.

Despite this, the Administration continues to maintain 86.75 per cent of the Spanish quota in the highly dependent fleets in order to maintain profitability in its operations and in recognition of the efforts deployed in the years in which the quota declined.

With this rule, the Spanish Government responds to a majority request from the artisanal sectors, while preserving the activity of the fleets most dependent on bluefin tuna.

During the meeting, attended by the General Director of Fisheries Resources, Isabel Artime, the sector and the autonomous communities were able to present their observations and, from the Ministry, they encouraged those present to make their comments and allegations to the proposed text in writing, inviting them to continue the debate once the annual ICCAT meeting is over.

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