Chiaroscuro in Brussels. Negotiation “long and hard”. The last of the year’s Council of European Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, in which the Community Waters and Fisheries Shared Fisheries quota cake was distributed with the UK and Norway for the following year, never disappointed. On this occasion, Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture and his counterparts, spent 22 hours putting together parts of a complex “Sudoku” game that never leaves anyone 100% satisfied and which has not been easy for Spain lately. Next year, it will be the role of the Spanish minister himself to preside over and distribute the game. For the time being, the balance with which the Minister returns to Madrid must be credited to him A “historic” agreement on southern (Atlantic) hake 9,953 tons by 2023. The best number in the past eight years (10,409 tons in 2014 and the second best in the century. In contrast, Spain voted “no” for New reduction in fishing days for the Mediterranean Fleet by 7%. This figure hardly improves what the Czech presidency (7.5%) proposed on Monday and boosts the compensation system by up to 3.5% from 3% on the condition that practices to improve selectivity be adopted or a ban be imposed for 4 consecutive weeks.
For Javier Jarratt, Secretary General of Cepesca and President of the European Employers Association Europêche, “The commissioner has shown himself to be very insensitive to the fishing sector, especially the Mediterranean.” He argues that this fleet has faced cuts of more than 30% under the multi-year fisheries plan for the Western Mediterranean that comes into force in 2020. It is about no less than 600 trawlers, although agriculture It brings the number of those affected to up to 680 boats and about 17,000 direct boats. and indirect functions. Regarding the compensation of 3.5% of the fishing days, he believes that these are “small amounts that do not satisfy the sector.”
With the cut approved first thing in the morning, Jarratt added, “They have less than 150 days to hunt all year.”. What, besides protecting the areas with fry, in the opinion of the main person in charge of the European Employers Association, is to take this fleet to the limit and herald “serious social and economic problems” in the five affected autonomous regions (Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands) .
For the President of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Unions, Basilio Otero, “It feels bittersweet” And he talks about it “hammer” For a fleet whose activity has been restricted since 2020. In this sense, he estimates that the average loss will be “between 8 and 10 days” and agrees that less than 150 days is dangerous. He concluded by saying, “We will continue to work and we will meet with the ministry to design the Mediterranean campaign and try to overcome this storm.”
Advances in the Atlantic
With regard to the Atlantic Ocean, Planas can show more positive results. Especially because of the “historic” quota of southern hake (10% more than that achieved for the year), which will benefit 1,200 Cantabrian vessels (Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country), but other fisheries such as mackerel Its crop count increased by 20% to 29,439 tons. Something that the 800 ships dedicated to this species will appreciate, since they also leave a penalty of more than 5,500 tons per year since 2016. In addition, other interesting species are preserved for Spain, such as Sole s frownIn addition to avoiding the sword of the bully from a fixed 6-month ban for eel Which means reducing the quota to zero. Garat (Cepesca) acknowledged the growth of quotas in various species such as blue whiting and expressed concern about other fisheries such as jack mackerel in western Cantabria, to which some 400 boats have been assigned, and which may only catch 3,271 by-tons. “This will lead to serious problems for the purse seining fleet,” warned the representative of the Fishing Masters Association.
In this sense, from Cepesca, they also denounced that the trawling fleet operating in the Bay of Cádiz would see its share of crayfish Up to 36% next year and that comes from another 30% cut by 2022. Otero (Brotherhoods) for its part has appreciated progress in the Atlantic and confirmed that it will be possible to fish albacore in English waters. He referred to “something that was not in the Brexit agreement”. Otero also lamented what happened with the commission, because the quota in 2023 will be much lower and will be limited to bycatch.
Norway and the multi-year quota
Yesterday’s fishing marathon also dealt with the issue of shared fish stocks with Norway. In this sense, like Dol Spain, France, Germany, Portugal and Poland They have already shown their “concern” and “disappointment” with the stagnation in negotiations and have chosen to set temporary quarterly quotas. On a practical level, for Spain this represents about 2,000 tons of cod.
Planas also put forward, supported by France and Portugal, that some quotas be negotiated on a multi-year basis, even at the expense, in the Minister’s words, of “reducing the media burden of this Council at the end of the year.” about him United kingdomJarratt said negotiations with the UK were well underway and were likely to conclude with increases in fisheries such as northern hake, meergram and monkfish.