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Fishing sector shows Europe the role of backbone of trawling in the Mediterranean

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Friday, September 10, 2021, 16:00 (GMT + 9)

The Director General of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs of the EC, Charlina Vitcheva, visits Almería to analyze the status of the application of the Regulation for demersal fishing in the Mediterranean

• Fishermen maintain their opposition to greater reductions in fishing days without analyzing the results of scientific studies that will verify the status of the stocks after the measures already in place and demand that their experience and trade be taken into account more
• The application of the Regulation for demersal fishing in the Mediterranean in the first two years has already led to a reduction of around 29% in fishing days

The Mediterranean fishing fleet is positive about the visit that the General Director of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs of the European Commission (EC), Charlina Vitcheva, has started today to Almería to analyze "in situ" the status of the application of the Regulation for fishing demersal in the Mediterranean. The fleet also trusts that the visit will serve to raise awareness in Europe about the role of trawling as an economic and social backbone in the Mediterranean, “around which all fishing activity in this sea revolves, both purse seine as of minor arts, as well as the supply chain and commercialization of its products, pillar of the appreciated Mediterranean diet and all the efforts already made by the Spanish fishing sector are recognized ”.

Photo: courtesy Europa Press

Vitcheva's visit began this morning with a meeting at the Almería Government Subdelegation, during which the sector expressed its opposition to the further reduction of the fishing days of the fleets until the results of the scientific studies that measure the impact that measures already implemented since 2020 have had on stocks. The assessment by scientific organizations, including the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), It will not be available until 2022 and this is recognized by the EC itself, which, however, proposes to continue reducing fishing days despite not having an evaluation of the result of the measures already adopted.

Likewise, the fishermen have renewed before Vitcheva their desire to collaborate in the sustainability of the fishing activity in the Mediterranean and have claimed that their experience and trade have more weight in decision-making. In this regard, they presented during the meeting the nearly 20 projects launched by the sector, a sign of their commitment to sustainable fishing in the Mediterranean, eight of which have been developed within the direct fishing activity, such as the use of hydraulic flying gates to minimize the impact of dragging on the seabed or pilot tests of new types of more selective experimental meshes with the species. Added to them are various R & D & i projects, marine conservation and various social outreach actions.

During the meeting, both the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), represented by its secretary general Javier Garat, and the National Federation of Fishermen's Guilds (FNCP), represented by its president, Basilio Otero, recalled the impact that the sector due to the EU demersal (ground fish) management plan, in force since the beginning of 2000 and which has involved the application of a series of measures that, in the opinion of fishermen, is compromising fishing activity in the trawler zone and taking fishermen and their families to the limit.

The same opinion is held by the Andalusian Federation of Fisheries Associations (FAAPE) and the Andalusian Federation of Fishermen's Guilds (Facope), represented by their presidents, José María Gallart and Jorge Campos; as well as the Andalusian Association of Women in the Fishing Sector (AndMuPes), represented by its president María Ángeles Cayuela.

The fishing sector, which thanked Vitcheva for her interest in knowing first-hand the reality of fishing in the Spanish Mediterranean, has urged the general management to collaborate and work together towards the goal of sustainable fishing, the only formula, the fishermen, to avoid the threat that a merely bureaucratic demersal management plan could have on the activity of 600 Spanish vessels and more than 17,000 jobs, between direct and indirect jobs. The fleet carried out a generalized stop last June and requested the action of the Government and the EC to prevent the extinction of the fishing activity and, specifically, of a traditional art of the Mediterranean coast and as sustainable as others such as trawling.

Furthermore, the trawling modality is not only the only one that allows the capture of certain species such as, for example, the famous red prawn, red shrimp or Norway lobster; it is also essential to ensure the entire chain of
supply and marketing and all activities of the Mediterranean fishing ports.

It should be remembered that, by virtue of the Plan and also within the framework of the complex scenario generated by Covid-19, space-time closure zones have been created to avoid the capture of juveniles and the fishing effort has been significantly reduced. Specifically, the application of the Regulation for demersal fishing in the Mediterranean in the first two years has already led to a reduction of around 29% in fishing days.

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