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Low mackerel quota worries the sector


Mackerel catches. (Photo: YouTube/Txema5)

Click on the flag for more information about SpainSPAIN
Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
A government meeting with purse-seine vessel owners, which was convened to discuss the problems facing the sector due to the reduced mackerel quota, ended with neither a specific agreement nor declaration of intent.
The meeting was attended by the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Isabel Garcia Tejerina, and representatives of the Association of Purse Seine Shipowners of Galicia (ACERGA).
The minister blamed the Socialist government of Jose Luis Zapatero for the poor fishing quota awarded for the Spanish fleet.
The shipowners, meanwhile, claimed that the government should act before the European Union (EU) to get a higher mackerel quota.
"With the purse-seiners, unfortunately, there is an inherited situation that we can’t change, which is the result of an earlier policy of undue fishing," Tejerina said.
The minister recalled that the EU imposed "very important” sanctions to Spain, by which it deducts 10,000 tonnes of mackerel per year, and will continue to do so until 2023.
She said they are trying to obtain "more flexibility" from the European Commission (EC) "offering other species" of less interest to the fleet, in order to pay the fine and thus the siege sector would have "more capacity" to fish.
With regard to horse mackerel, Tejerina welcomed the agreement of last December, allowing greater flexibility between the quotas for VIIIc (from the Bay of Biscay to Finisterre) and IXa (from Finisterre to the Gulf of Cadiz) grounds. This will make it possible to have a similar situation to that in 2014.
She also highlighted the expansion of the anchovy quota, and regarding sardine, she warned the government will ensure it is fished "in a very orderly and controlled manner."
"The worst thing that could happen to the sector is that the Commission imposed a total allowable catch (TAC)," she added.
ACERGA representative, Andres Garcia, was not triumphalist about Tejerina news. Moreover, he insisted on that a change in the system of caught species is necessary, newspaper La Voz de Galicia informed.
He added they need to "seek a higher horse mackerel quota, which is the one that is holding the sector economy", as the 19,000 tonnes to catch "in the whole year, it's nothing," Atlantico reported.
"We have explained [to the minister] what we need and she showed her commitment to improve things. We are now expecting the results," he concluded.
Currently, Galicia siege fleet is composed of 150 ships.
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