Spain has obtained a "good result" for the national fleet, after two days of negotiation in the Council, according to the minister.

The agreement, reached this morning, improves the initial proposals of the European Commission (EC) on TAC and catches. The negotiation has been marked for being 2020 the reference year foreseen in the Common Fisheries Policy to achieve the goal of Maximum Sustainable Performance (RMS) exploitation of fishing grounds at safe biological levels – which has determined the result in many species.

The agreed TACs allow to maintain an adequate level of catches to guarantee the activity of the sector, maintaining the commitment with the achievement of the RMS, and with it the fulfillment of the objectives of the PPC, the environmental, social and economic sustainability. The agreement allows the normal development of the activity of the Spanish fleet and guarantees that it can be carried out in good conditions throughout 2020. In fact, the total volume of capture possibilities is increased.

Quotas by species

Spain has managed to minimize the reduction of quotas for southern hake (Cantabrian, Gulf of Cádiz and Portugal) while maintaining the exploitation of this fishery within the RMS. The TAC will finally drop 5%. Hake is essential for Spanish coastal communities.

Also, the agreement substantially modifies the initial 40% cut for the sole of the national fishing ground, which will eventually be limited to a 20% drop. It will work simultaneously to improve the current uncertainties of its evaluation.

For southern horse mackerel (Gulf of Cádiz and Galicia): in the face of an initial EC proposal to reduce the TAC by 50%, a level of fishing opportunities is adopted that is completely in line with the scientific recommendation according to the RMS. The TAC increases by 24% compared to 2019.

For the horse mackerel (or chicharro) of the Cantabrian, the TAC drops by 40, 7%. However, after the negotiation. Spain achieves flexibility measures that allow balancing the fishing opportunities that Spain will have between the two management units that make up this fishery, through the increase of special conditions. In this way, the Spanish fleet as a whole will have sufficient quota to develop its fishing activity during the year 2020.

Upload the Mackerel

The TAC of mackerel (also green or xarda) increases by 41% for the Cantabrian fleet. The share of this emblematic species for the northwest fleet rises for the first time, after years of declines. The TAC of the bacaladilla also increases by 3%.

The quotas of roosters and monkfish remain at levels similar to those of 2019, with significant rebounds in some fishing grounds, consolidating an upward trend of the previous year.

The TAC of the Cantabrian anchovy is reduced by 3% when a drop in recruitments is detected, complying with the exploitation rule that is giving such good results in the management of this fishery.

The TAC of northern hake (waters of Scotland and Ireland, Gran Sol and French waters of the Bay of Biscay) drops by 20%, applying the RMS. However, it is considered that the established quota will be sufficient to cover the needs of the Spanish fleet, which this year did not exhaust its quota.

The anchovy quota (anchovy) of the 9th zone (Galicia and the Gulf of Cádiz) is set between July 1 and June 30 of the following year. Therefore, it will not be until the month of June when the results of the scientific evaluations are the moment in which the TAC will be established for the new period.


In relation to the Cantabrian crayfish (functional units 25 and 31), the European Commission and Spain have committed themselves to continue working, through the Spanish Oceanography Institute (IEO) and with the collaboration of the sector, to request, as soon as possible according to the data obtained, the review of the current scientific recommendation for these populations. These works have been reflected in a statement.

The data obtained will be transferred to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to closely monitor the stock assessment. If the evolution continues to be positive, it may lead to a reassessment of the current proposal of zero TAC, and in the event that the results of ICES endorse it, the Commission undertakes to review the fishing opportunities.

The fishery has been closed since 2017, something that, for now, has not changed for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

With the aim of maintaining the commitment to continue advancing in the knowledge of the fishery, the amounts obtained in previous years are maintained to carry out sentinel campaigns, on board commercial vessels, which will allow to increase the historical series necessary to improve their scientific knowledge.

Other agreements

With respect to the landing obligation, the mechanisms adopted last year are maintained, ensuring the maintenance of fleet activity. The situation of the cod of the Celtic Sea forces to adopt certain technical measures like increases of selectivity (measures already foreseen in the national legislation).

In addition, the distribution of the additional TAC of 100 tonnes of bluefin tuna obtained under the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas has been agreed with Portugal and Greece (ICCAT) for artisanal fleets.

This distribution is carried out based on the relative stability (historical criteria for the distribution of quotas) internal to the EU for this species, as Spain demanded.

Mediterranean Regulation

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