Spain acts to protect fishing, ecosystem


Chris Dove, contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
August 24, 2010

The draft Sustainable Fisheries Act recently approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers aims to foster “rational, responsible and sustainable fisheries resources” in accordance with European Union legislation, international regulations and the Food and Agricultural Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Spain’s Ministry for Rural and Marine Affairs said this week.
Passed on Friday, the act is designed to protect fishing resources and the ecosystem, promote selective-gear fisheries, improve conditions for fishing activities and raise fishermen’s living standards. Adjusting fleet capacity and strengthening the processing sector so it can increase the range of value-added seafood products are also included in the act.

At its core, the act promotes scientific research, innovative techniques, energy efficiency and waste management. The Ministry for Rural and Marine Affairs said it will protect biodiversity within the framework of environmental guidelines established in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The act also seeks to adapt Spain’s legal system to EU regulations on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Tight controls on seafood imports and access to Spanish ports for foreign-flagged vessels are among the countermeasures intended to deter IUU fishing.

Aquaculture is also highlighted as an important area of economic growth, especially given the current trend to reduce fishing capacity in the spirit of sustainability.

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