Spain rules on mackerel quota

Based on data from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography and Secretary General of the Sea, and following in-depth consultations with fisheries representatives, Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MARM) over the weekend established new criteria for Spain’s mackerel quota.

Specifying maximum daily and weekly catches, allocations and management mechanisms, the regulations apply to the mackerel fleets operating in Cantabria, the Northwest Bay of Biscay, the Gulf of Cadiz and in non-Spanish European waters.

Recognizing the socio-economic importance of mackerel fishing, and taking into account fleet activity over the 1988-to-2007 period, MARM aims to achieve more balanced distribution of quotas among the country’s fleets.

Spanish-flagged mackerel trawlers, purse seiners and sea-bottom trawlers, such as Spanish purse seiners operating 12 miles off Portugal’s continental waters, are among those affected.

The 2010 mackerel quota for the Cantabrian region is set at 90.6 percent of the total allowable catch (TAC); in the Northwest Bay of Biscay at 8.4 percent; and in the Gulf of Cadiz at 1 percent, representing reductions of between 10 to 40 percent compared to 2009 quotas.

The ruling clarifies that mackerel catches will adhere to volumes established in the TAC in effect until 31 December 2010. The quota for bottom trawlers is 20,000 kilograms per vessel with those working “as a couple” allowed a maximum 30,000 kilograms for both vessels. Purse seiners are allowed 1,500 kilograms per crew member, while arts hook and other gears are allocated a maximum 1,000 kilograms per crew member.

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