The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has conveyed Spain’s disagreement with some of the European Commission’s proposals on fishing opportunities and management measures for 2022 to his Slovenian counterpart Jože Podgoršek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.
Podgoršek will chair the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers which is due to decide on Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas for 2022 on 12-13 December in Brussels.
During a videoconference, Luis Planas stressed the need to consider alternative measures, such as the selectivity of fishing gear. These measures have already been tested by Spanish scientific institutes, and the results presented to the European Commission, which indicate that it would be feasible to achieve the aims of the multi-annual management plan for demersal stocks in the Western Mediterranean with their application.
For all these reasons, Luis Planas has indicated to his counterpart that Spain cannot accept the application of an additional reduction of effort days for the trawler fleets, a new regime for longlining and the application of TACs for deep-water shrimp, which would have a very negative impact and would prevent the viability of the Mediterranean trawler fleet from having guarantees within the limits of the socio-economic sustainability set by the Common Fisheries Policy.
In addition, Luis Planas pointed out that time is needed to see the results of the measures that are already being applied before making such drastic cuts. Regarding Atlantic stocks, the minister expressed his concern about the proposed new cuts for southern hake. Spain does not agree with the precautionary approach applied by the Commission, taking into account the historical data available for this stock.
Pending the assessment of the situation of this stock to be carried out in spring next year, Luis Planas has informed that he will ask for the current TAC to be maintained, since the continuity of the large number of Spanish vessels targeting this resource would be jeopardised if the reduction proposed by the Commission were applied.
The meeting reviewed the situation of other key stocks for Spanish interests, such as sole, Norway lobster and horse mackerel, on which the Ministry does not agree with the Commission’s proposals and will request their review in light of scientific recommendations that allow their exploitation within the objectives of the Maximum Sustainable Yield.