Calls for increased sardine quotas

in News · 06-03-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal and Spain argue that the positive evolution of sardine resources at sea may allow an increase in catches by their fishermen in 2020, but the decision has yet to be confirmed.

“Portugal and Spain agreed on positions to achieve a larger quota, but this can only be done after scientific validation”, explained the secretary of State for Fisheries, José Apolinário, to the Lusa agency.

José Apolinário met at the end of last week with the general secretary of Fisheries of Spain, Alicia Villauriz, to define the strategy for the coming weeks.

The two Iberian countries “want more” than the recommended quota of 4,142 tonnes for 2020 and, according to Lisbon, it will be possible to reach at least 10,799 tonnes of sardines caught in 2019.

“We understand that the state of the resource allows us to negotiate the equivalent of last year’s base, but we must have a technical opinion validated by the European Commission”, said the Portuguese official.

In an opinion published in mid-December, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommended that the fishing opportunities for sardines for Portugal and Spain should be set at 4,142 tonnes in 2020.

The basis of this recommendation is, in particular, the low levels of biomass (sardines) aged one year or more, in addition to the recruitment (class 0 age) being at the minimum of 2006.

However, Lisbon and Madrid maintain that joint management in the waters of the two countries enabled an increase of 52 percent in resources: from 117,929 tonnes in 2015 (the lowest point of the ‘stock’) to 179,410 in 2019.

By the end of this month, Portugal and Spain intend to “clarify” with ICES what the “operating rule” is to be used, validate these results with the European Commission, and then meet with industry professionals.

The sardine fishing season normally starts on 1 May in Spain and on 1 June in Portugal.

The two countries agree that by 2022 a level of exploitation should be reached that allows the recovery of sardine resources that ensures sustainability, taking into account the socio-economic importance of this emblematic and traditional fisheries for the Portuguese and Spanish fishing fleets.


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