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Galicia hopes to change sardine plan

Sardine capture landings. (Photo: Stock File)
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Thursday, August 21, 2014, 03:30 (GMT + 9)

Xunta de Galicia has expressed support for the sardine management plan proposed by the Spanish central government, released late last week, but hopes to be able to modify it.
The Secretariat of Marine Affairs of Galicia reported that with the purse seine sector, and through the Galician Fisheries Council, a proposal "on which work is going to continue and which must be ratified by the other communities" was developed.
It explained that while these negotiations take place, and given that Portugal unilaterally adopted its own management plan, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) released a plan as "urgent action" to prevent the European Union (EU) from imposing a more restrictive sardine total allowable catch (TAC).
The Secretariat ensured it will continue to negotiate "without the pressure from Brussels to approve a quota that would be seriously detrimental," the newspaper Faro de Vigo reported.
In addition, it confirmed that in a few days the Council will meet to "resume negotiations for an agreement to come into force next year and the following ones."
Meanwhile, the Galician purse seine sector warns that economic issues are expected and even some harm due to the imposition of a catch limit of 20,500 tonnes.
"It has already been done and the Government issued an order that does not include anything that we proposed, we do not know what to negotiate now," industry sources point out.
Andres Garcia, spokesperson for the Association of Purse Seine Shipowners of Galicia (ACERGA), said they do not really know what the government will do. "We do not understand its decision," he acknowledged in remarks to La Opinión.
"After the last meeting with Portugal, in which positions had been approached as well as the management plan agreed by the industry and the regional government, which they were going to keep in mind, now they publish this order. We have become confused," he added.
The Government’s management plan will last three years -- including 2014 -- and provides for the implementation of a system to set maximum sardine catches in zones VIIIc and IXa -- all the Cantabrian Sea and the Gulf of Cadiz --, depending on the species biomass.
The General Secretariat of Fisheries ensured the fleet of Spain and Portugal can capture 20,500 tonnes this year, 55.5 per cent less than what was fished in 2013 (46,000 tonnes).
Meanwhile, BNG fishing spokesperson Daniel Rhodes in the Galician Parliament said the measure represents an "absolute underestimation" of Galicia and the purse seine sector.
Related article:
Management plan seeks to reverse sardine 'worrying' situation

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