For Spain, sustainability pays off in EU quota talks

With long-term sustainability a priority, the EU fisheries council at its meeting in Brussels this week is moving forward on several key fishing quotas.

As minister of agriculture, rural and marine affairs for one of the countries most affected by the quotas, Spain’s Elena Espinosa presented scientific reports to fisheries ministers consolidating the status of anchovy, hake, whiting, haddock and mackerel stocks.

The Bay of Biscay anchovy fishery was closed four years ago for scientific evaluation of stocks, the results of which show improved levels of recruitment. Ministers therefore agreed to reopen the fishery with a precautionary quota of 7,000 metric tons, to be reviewed in the spring.

An agreement was reached to increase the southern hake quota 15 percent, while quotas for whiting and haddock remain unchanged.

Both northern and southern hake are important species for the Spanish fishing fleet, so the increased quota highlights the success of recovery plans of both stocks.

Spain has also managed to limit its quota for horse mackerel in the Canary Islands to 4 percent in light of the EU’s proposed 15 percent reduction there.

The country also stands to benefit from the first open-water cod fishery in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization zone reopening after a 10-year closure. 

From 1 January to 30 June, Spain will hold the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union. Meeting newly appointed EU President Herman Van Rompuy in Madrid on Tuesday, Diego López Garrido, Spanish secretary of state at the EU Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, promised “progress with the Lisbon Treaty signed two weeks ago, which Spain is now responsible to implement.”

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