By Pilar Caride, SeafoodSourcecontributing editor, reporting from Vigo, Spain
Published on 04 April, 2013
On 1 March, the new point system for serious infringements of the newly-revamped common fisheries policy (CFP) took effect in Spain, amid criticism from the Spanish fisheries sector.
According to this system, along with potential fines per violation, fishermen are now sanctioned with a series of points. If a fisherman acquires enough points, a vessel’s license can be suspended, or even revoked.
The fisheries sector knew this was coming, but have expressed their displeasure with it.
“We think that the necessary previous consultations had not been made to the European economic and social agents; the number of obligations for the vessels and administrations was considerably increased and the regulation included a series of rules that, as we already explained, would be impossible to meet in practice,” Javier Garat, secretary general of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation, or Cepesca, told SeafoodSource.
In addition, some parts of the fleet, like the Galician traditional fleet, regard this regulation with some suspicion, as they fear that the rules will be very strictly applied to certain sectors. On the other hand, Cepesca said that the control should be “the appropriate to guarantee the operation of the management systems, because, if not, our future looks black.”
Luis Rodríguez, president of the Association of Minor Artisanal Ship-owners of Galicia, said he was disconcerted by the measure of suspending a vessel’s license for some time due to certain infringements, as the vessel itself is the necessary tool to work and face these types of economic sanctions.
The rule includes the update of the sanctions, introducing changes in the amounts for lesser infringements. These range from EUR 60 (USD 78) to EUR 600 (USD 781). More serious infringements carry fines up to EUR 60,000 (USD 78,088), and the worst violations carry fines of up to EUR 300,000 (USD 390,461).
According to the sector, if some parts of the fleet were affected by the sanctions, they would put at risk their activity’s profitability. In this sense, Rodríguez said, “they would threaten the survival and profitability of the vessel and workers.”
Spain has been applying this regulation for one month, but as explained by the sector, it is not implemented in all the member states.