The acting minister has stressed that "only from sustainability can we ensure the economic and social future of our fishermen and our coastal areas."
In his speech, Planas has pointed out the great fishing vocation of Spain, an activity that constitutes an important economic engine for large coastal areas. In fact, Spain occupies the first position of the European Union in fleet capacity, in addition to being the first fish producer and the one that generates the most direct jobs in this sector, almost a quarter of the EU total. In addition, Spain is a leader in catches of tunas in the European Union and ranks fifth worldwide.
Planas has ensured that maintaining this leadership position will only be possible if fishery resources are exploited sustainably. In the case of tunas and other migratory species, sustainable fishery management requires the cooperation of all interested parties.
In this regard, the acting minister has highlighted the efforts of ICCAT to ensure and maintain tuna and related species populations at sustainable levels. Among the characteristics of this organization, Planas has highlighted the rigor and quality of its assessments of fishery resources and the application of rigorous management and control schemes for its fisheries.
Regional fisheries organizations play a key role in fisheries management at international level and in the governance of seas and oceans, adopting harmonized measures for all the fleets operating in the same fishing ground. Spain belongs to 11 regional fishing organizations, of which ICCAT is one of the most necessary and fruitful, and exercises a leading position over the others.
Bluefin tuna recovery plan
As an example of good management, the minister has referred to the Recovery Plan for bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, established by ICCAT in 2008, which was a great effort for the fleets that exploited it, but achieved its objectives in 10 years, earlier than originally planned.
As indicated, this Plan has allowed to re-incorporate, in an orderly and prudent manner, the capture of bluefin tuna to the fleet that was excluded, mainly artisanal boats, thus giving a greater social character to this fishery.
On the other hand, the minister has signaled the opportunity for this ICCAT meeting to find solutions to the new challenges in terms of conservation and sustainable use of other fishery resources, such as tropical tunas, mainly bigeye, and the short-lived marsh.
In the case of tropical tunas, Planas has warned of the worrying situation of overfishing, so it considers it necessary to carry out a review of the management system of this resource. The minister understands that responsible fishing must be guaranteed, through a more balanced regulation that applies to all fleets.
And in relation to catches of hardwood marsh, which constitutes an by-catch for the surface longline fleet directed to swordfish, Spain is in favor of continuing with the current management system and compliance with European zero discard regulations.
At the same time, the minister believes that it will be of great interest to address the modification of the Convention, which will definitely enshrine the competence of ICCAT to regulate migratory pelagic sharks. In this way, you can adopt conservation measures aimed specifically at these populations.
Future CAP in the Balearic Islands
After the inauguration, the minister met with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Government of the Balearic Islands, Mae de la Concha, with whom he addressed issues of mutual interest. In this meeting, Planas has expressed the commitment to deepen the articulation of the unique presence of the Balearic Islands in the future CAP, both in the first and second pillars.