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Galician goose barnacle. (Photo: Jose Luis Cernadas Iglesias/CC BY 2.0)

Shellfish management plans will include environmental information for the first time

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017, 21:40 (GMT + 9)

Galicia's shellfish management plans for 2017 will include for the first time standardized environmental information on the entire Galician coast. These data, which are obtained from the samples and knowledge of the surroundings the technical staff of Galician coast has, will contribute to the achievement of good environmental status of marine ecosystems and are of great value for the knowledge of the status of resources and of the marine environment.

The two orders approving these plans were published in the Official Gazette of Galicia (DOG) last 30 December: One is the general plan of shellfish exploitation and the other, plans for management of specific resources (species such as the goose barnacle, echinoderms, solenidae, algae, European abalone, anemones and polychaetes) for 2017. Through them, the Ministry of Marine Affairs is approving a total of 226 plans, 21 more than in 2016.

These documents establish the precise regime to allow shellfish exploitation in the Galician community with the guarantees of good management of the resource, taking into account available scientific data and reports. They implement this by means of a series of regulations to carry out the catch activity of shellfish, as for example, periods and maximum fishing days and areas of work.

The environmental information of the plans may be delivered by the fishermen's guilds to the Administration during the year of the validity of the plans and is included with the objective of coordinating the work plans of the guilds according to the Framework Directive on the Strategy Established by the European Union. In fact, these plans are the result of a continued study of the evolution of resources and habitat. In addition, they can be included in the actions for the protection and recovery of biodiversity covered by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

For the first time, the DOG publishes specific resource management plans independently of the general plan of shellfish fishing, according to the one established in the order regulating the catch of specific resources and the need to bring together all aspects related to this activity.

General plan for shellfish harvest

The order of the general plan for shellfish harvesting in 2017 contemplates the plans of shellfish gathering on foot and from boat. Through it a total of 93 were approved, 45 of them are administrative authorizations and 48, free zones for shellfish gathering.

The management measures for the catch of European spider crab, brown crab and octopus will be developed at the time through specific management plans for these fisheries.

In relation to other crustaceans, the Plan establishes that it is permitted to catch velvet crab from 1 to 5 January and from 2 July to 30 December. In the case of the European lobster, the authorized period of capture is from 1 January to 31 March and from 2 July to 30 December.

Lobster can be caught between 1 January 29 and September. In relation to the small European locust lobster, the plan establishes that it may be fished from the 1 to 5 January and from 1 October to 30 December. In addition, it specifies that the wrinkled swimming crab, harbour crab and common crab can be caught throughout the year.

Specific resources

With respect to the order for specific resources, through it the Ministry approved a total of 133 management plans.

Among the approved plans, 35 are for goose barnacle, 18 for echinoderms, 24 for solenidae (razor shell, pod razor shell and “viejo longueiron”), five are for European abalone, 20 for algae, 9 for anemones and 22 for polychaete. In the case of Holothuria forskali echinoderm holothuria, popularly known in Galicia as black sea cucumber, for 2017, the Ministry of Marine Affairs approved two more management plans, corresponding to the guilds of Aldan and Vigo. These are added to those of the guilds of A Coruña-Barallobre, Cangas and O Grove.

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