Spain denounces EU regulations, fishing nets

Inaugurating last week’s Fish Techniques convention in Galicia, regional government delegate Samuel Juárez spoke out over the industry’s increasing regulations as a cause of conflict.

Concerned that a more regulated industry with increased vigilance has left Spain “with no remedy” than to abide by community guidelines, Juárez said: “The men in black have come, and have made an economic intervention in fisheries control,” obliging Spain to intensify surveillance.

Acknowledging the need for regulation, Juárez believes vigilance “has always been in conflict” as the European Union “increasingly applies more and more controls and doesn’t trust Spain. Fishing cannot live permanently in unreal situations nor imitate a blind man, deception is not a good basis for any economic sector.”

Juárez noted a “divorce” between fishermen and scientists, calling for greater cooperation between the two to provide the best information on resources as the EU increasingly refers to scientific recommendations on captures.

Declaring that Common Fisheries Policy reform “will not be very revolutionary,” the government delegate branded the initial deadline for fisheries management based on maximum sustainable yield as ‘draconian,’ but reassured this will be pushed back to 2020.

EU regulations concern trawler fishermen at the opposite end of the country. In Málaga’s key port of Caleta de Vélez, association leader José Luis Guerrero blames the 40 percent year-on-year fall in authorized captures on new, smaller nets mandated by the EU.

Guerrero claims the reduction in mesh size impedes authorized squid, baby squid, prawns, blue whiting, baby hake, red bandfish, Pacific crevalle jack and horse mackerel captures.

The port’s daily catch has fallen from 750 boxes this time last year to just 400 today, causing significant economic losses to his members.

Málaga’s Socialist Party representatives Rosa Torres and Marisa Bustinduy met industry leaders and port authorities early this month to witness the problem firsthand, petitioning the Andalusian Parliament to present a non-legislative proposal to Spain’s fisheries minister highlighting the singularities of Málaga’s stocks and the nets’ negative effects.

EU observers are scheduled to visit the province to test the new meshes, verifying if horse mackerel up to 15 centimeters — the authorized size — can escape the nets.
Fishermen also complain that the thinner-flaked threads trawlers have to use cause great damage to catches, directly affecting quality and a fall in market value.


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