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Sardine fishery closed due to quota completion

Sardine capture. (Photo: Juan Murias/Copyright: FIS)

Click on the flag for more information about SpainSPAIN 
Monday, September 22, 2014, 01:30 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) on Saturday closed the sardine fishery in areas VIIIc and IXa of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), following the completion of the planned quotas.
The authorities found that the catches of Portugal and Spain reached the limit quota set by the regulation of the joint operation of the sardine management plan for the North Cantabrian, ICES area VIIIc; and in Portuguese waters and the Gulf of Cadiz, area IXa.
The MAGRAMA considers it essential for this resource to be managed responsibly because of their poor biological condition in order to permit the establishment of a higher quota in the near future.
Fisheries authorities will assess the impact of the closure and present the possibility of compensatory measures for vessels and their crews to the European Union (EU).
The closure of the fishery is performed simultaneously in Portuguese and Spanish fisheries and for vessels of both flags. "With this gesture, the Spanish and Portuguese governments understand that it becomes unnecessary to subject this species to a community TAC," MAGRAMA pointed out.
The two governments participated in the development of a more favourable capture regulation than that used by ICES in its recommendations, which would allow fishermen to catch 20 per cent more.
However, the Government of Spain made it clear that its commitment is to manage the sardine responsibly to allow its biological, social and economic long-term sustainability.
Fishermen from the fishing grounds of the Gulf of Cádiz lamented the announcement of the fishery closure although the president of the Andalusian Federation of Fisheries Associations (FAAPE), Pedro Maza, admitted that they "feared" that this would happen,Europa Press agency reported.
He also expressed the regret of the sector to know that "the management plan of the fishermen of the Gulf of Cádiz has not been taken into account or the effort made by the fleet in previous fishing plans, as that of the Gulf of Cadiz has been the fleet that has had more regulation, that has had a maximum catch, rest on weekends and adjusted stoppages to the species."
For its part, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Autonomous Government of Andalusia expressed its "categorical opposition" to the decision to close the sardine fishery in Cadiz, and requires MAGRAMA to devise an alternative plan to prevent the forced mooring of the fleet.
"The Ministry is obliged to provide solutions to prevent 900 fishermen from becoming unemployed as a result of a plan imposed with the sector’s rejection. Drastic harm will be caused to the economy of fishing ports, which have already faced many difficulties," claimed Elena Viboras, the head of the Secretariat.
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