SPAIN: The Undersecretariat of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of Andalusia supports bluefin tuna total allowable catch (TAC) increase, which the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment is to defend at the XXV annual ordinary meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which is held until November 21 in Marrakech, Morocco.
Director General of Fisheries and Aquaculture Margarita Pérez has traveled to the Moroccan town to defend, together with the sector, an increase in the bluefin tuna TAC, which will mean increasing the quota of Spain and, therefore, of the Andalusian operators.
The Undersecretariat is demanding that the efforts and sacrifice made by the traditional tuna trap fisheries, the pole-line fleet of the Strait of Gibraltar and longliners throughout these years to be rewarded, in which bluefin tuna TAC progressive reductions have been established.
The bluefin tuna stock situation has been improving in recent years due to the decrease in fishing mortality and an increase in spawning stock biomass. In the face of this improvement, the ICCAT Scientific Committee (SCRS) has recommended an increase in catch limits to 36,000 tonnes in 2020, adopting a progressive rise approach in 2018 and 2019 until reaching this amount in three years. In 2017, the amount allowed worldwide is 23,155 tonnes.
"In this scenario of progressive increase, from Andalusia we will defend that the greatest increase in fishing opportunities for bluefin tuna to be achieved by 2018," said the Andalusian undersecretary. In addition, she recalled that the bluefin tuna quota allocated to Spain in 2017 was 4,243.6 tonnes, of which Andalusia accounted for about 1,700 tonnes.
According to the general director, "the latest data show a remarkable increase in bluefin tuna populations, so the Recovery Plan for the species must be stopped and a Management Plan should be started to be discussed."
In her opinion, "this quota increase is necessary to ensure the profitability of the four bluefin tuna trap fisheries and 180 Andalusian fishing boats, whose income depends on this species, and with it, the nearly 1,000 direct jobs they generate."
In Andalusia four tuna trap fisheries, 33 longline vessels (based mainly in Carboneras), 60 artisanal vessels that fish in the Strait of Gibraltar and other 87 artisanal ones distributed in the different ports of the provinces of Malaga, Granada and Almería, are dedicated to the directed fishing of bluefin tuna. These are joined to the smaller gear of the Mediterranean and the Strait of Gibraltar, which carries out additional or complementary fishing of this same species.