SPAIN : Two organisations representing tuna fishermen of El Hierro, Canary Islands, Sociedad Cooperativa del Mar Pesca Restinga (PESCARESTINGA) and Cofradia De Pescadores Nuestra Señora De Los Reyes (Cofradia de La Restinga), have joined non-profit association International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF).
While PESCARESTINGA handles the commercialisation of the catch, Cofradia de La Restinga acts as an administrative body with its key roles including managing vessel and fishery documentation, as well as advocating for the fishery’s interests at various government levels.
The El Hierro one-by-one tuna fishery comprises 14 vessels including two 12-metre boats that account for approximately 80 per cent of the catch. Landings are dominated by skipjack, but yellowfin are also targeted when they migrate through seasonal warm waters.
The majority of the island’s fresh tuna is transported directly to Tenerife, while the frozen skipjack goes to Gran Canaria.
El Hierro is internationally renowned for the rich diversity of its marine life, making it a haven for divers. The island’s fishers were a driving force behind the creation of a 750-hectare marine reserve that forms part of the larger El Hierro Biosphere Reserve (designated by UNESCO in the year 2000).
“It is a pleasure to be part of IPNLF’s community, which defends, promotes and acts to achieve respectful, healthy and sustainable fisheries management from both ecosystem and socio-economic perspectives. We are very happy to know there are people who understand our world, and we also believe that combining knowledge and efforts is the best way to transform the rest of the world and achieve a more sensible reality,” pointed out David Pavón, Chairman/President of PESCARESTINGA.
For his part, Fernando Gutiérrez, President of Cofradia de La Restinga, highlighted that it is important to know that as fishers of tuna by traditional pole-and-line, El Hierro has this international support.
Meanwhile, Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, commented that IPNLF maintains that it is essential that all of the world’s traditional, small-scale one-by-one tuna fisheries are heard and nurtured so that they remain a key component of the broader seafood sustainability landscape.