Oceana proposes more sustainable regulation of recreational fishing in the Balearic Islands
25% of catches in the Balearic Islands correspond to non-professional fishermen, one of the highest percentages in the Mediterranean.
Press Release Date: November 8, 2011
Spearfishing is the main culprit for the overfishing of the fishery resources of the islands’ coastline.
Oceana has submitted a proposal to improve the management of recreational fishing in the Balearic Islands and for more sustainable regulation of the more aggressive methods, such as spearfishing. The initiative, which is in line with the “Oceana Proposal for responsible fishing in the Balearic Islands”, has been brought about because of the high impact of some of these activities on the archipelago’s fishery resources.
Recreational fishing is a growing activity in the Balearic Islands and it is believed that there are 70,000 people who practice it. This explains its high extractive capacity, which experts estimate to be around 1200 tons of fish per year. 25% of annual catches from all of the Balearic Archipelago’s fishing activity is caught by recreational fishermen, which is twice the European Mediterranean average, estimated to be 10%.
Of all the methods of recreational fishing, spearfishing has the biggest impact as its main target is large predatory fish such as dusky grouper, which means that it has a serious effect on the reproductive capacity of this species and causes an imbalance in the food chain. It is even thought that spearfishing is the main cause of the overexploitation of the fishery resources on the Balearic coastline.
It is therefore vital that recreational fishing be regulated in a more appropriate manner. The Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, Xavier Pastor, explains: “If we want recreational fishing to really represent an opportunity for economic development instead of a threat to the Balearic Islands, its management must be improved. Due to the high number of catches it represents, it is necessary to include this activity in the management of the island’s fisheries, together with professional fishing activity”.
This initiative of the international organisation for marine conservation has been developed as a case study which analyses the main problems represented by recreational fishing in the Balearic Islands and it offers solutions. Educating recreational fishermen, improving controls, promoting associationism, giving professional fishermen priority, improving the selectivity of tackle used and establishing more restrictive regulations for high impact methods such as spearfishing are Oceana’s proposals for recreational fishing to become a responsible activity and represent an activity for genuine economic development.
The “Oceana Proposal for responsible fishing in the Balearic Islands” consists of a global fishery management project for the Balearic Islands. This analysis comprises five chapters which address the different problems presented by the various types of fishing carried out in the island and there are management proposals to improve the conservation of the Balearic Promontory’s fishery resources and marine habitats. The documents which have already been distributed can be viewed at www.oceana.org.
Further information (in Spanish): Recreational fishing in the Balearic Islands. An activity on the increase