Q&A with Spain's fisheries ministry
In the context of a recent meeting in Málaga, Chris Dove asked the Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Environment about the latest regional initiatives supporting technological and aquaculture development.
Dove: The Ministry is supporting Canary Islands and Andalusian fishermen with EUR 4.8 million (USD 6.1 million) for the acquisition of electronic journals and blue boxes. How are these technologies improving efficiencies in these regions?
Ministry: Total assistance approved by the Ministry for both actions is EUR 4.8 million (USD 6.1 million), of which EUR 3.9 million (USD 4.96 million) relates to the acquisition and installation of equipment for the recording and reporting of electronic data (DEAs) and EUR 909,000 (USD 1.2 million) for the purchase and installation of satellite tracking equipment called “blue boxes.”
The maximum amount that will be paid to the shipowner is EUR 2,100 (USD 2,674) per vessel for DEAs and EUR 3,000 (USD 3,821) for blue boxes. The processing of aid cases will be managed through the National Federation of Fishermen’s Guild and the Spanish Fisheries Confederation acting as partners, who will ratify the relevant cooperation agreements.
With the announcement of this aid, we aim to help the fishing industry to comply with Community and national rules, tightening controls over fishing activities in order to achieve a sector compatible with the sustainability of resources.
Dove: Following the Barcelona Convention in Málaga this summer to review progress in the conservation of Mediterranean marine biodiversity, please explain the importance of aquaculture to the region.
Ministry: Aquaculture production in Spain is of great importance for production volume, for its contribution to sustainable development and for employment generation. In terms of production, aquaculture in the Mediterranean region focuses primarily on marine aquaculture, which in 2011 was 28,563 metric tons (MT) representing 70 percent of national fish production in Spain. Andalucía produced 6,773.51 MT, Murcia 9,122.5 MT, Valencia 10,840.92 MT and Catalonia 1,826.6 MT.
Andalucía, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands produced 13,509 MT of gilthead bream and 10,750 MT of sea bass in 2011, the two main species. It’s easy to deduce the importance of the Mediterranean in current and future aquaculture activity.
This region is also known for shellfish production, especially mussels, followed by clams, oysters and cockles, which in 2011 produced 4,900 MT compared to 231,334 MT of the national total.
Facing sustainable development, we must stress the role of aquaculture as an activity respectful to the environment, an aspect of utmost importance for its future development. The Ministry, through the Secretary General of Fish, promotes the development of sustainable aquaculture through guidelines published in the form of guides that tackle such fundamental issues as the interactions between aquaculture and the environment, the selection of locations, certification and diversification in aquaculture and inland aquaculture.