Oceana supports responsible artisan fishing as the future for fishing in the Balearic Islands

Industrial fishing and uncontrolled recreational fishing, in addition to other factors, have a negative effect on this traditional activity and they are inducing a state of regression.

Press Release Date: November 14, 2011

Location: Madrid


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Abandoning harmful practices and improving the selectivity of fishing gear are measures which are necessary for this activity to have a real future.

Oceana believes that the future of fishing in the Balearic Islands lies in responsible artisan fishing activity. Artisan fishing is not only an economic activity in the Balearic Islands, but also a characteristic sociocultural feature of this autonomous community. Since time immemorial it has represented the largest fishing fleet, with 82% of the total, but it is currently under threat by industrial trawling and uncontrolled recreational fishing, among other factors.

Oceana has just published an analysis (Spanish) on artisan fishing in the Balearic Islands which touches on the problems of this method and makes suggestions for improvements to enable it to be a responsible activity and become the future of professional fishing in the islands.

The overexploitation of fishery resources has resulted in a loss of selective and sustainable methods such as pound net fishing, as they are not profitable. Long trammel nets are the fishing gear currently being used, and they have a greater impact on the marine ecosystem.

“It is common for artisan fishermen to use nets which far exceed the legal length limit which has been established and for them to be cast for more than twice the permitted time”, explains Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “These practices are being used in fishing in order to catch a quantity of fish which was formerly caught with far less effort, but they are increasing the overexploitation of the fishery. It is a fish biting its tail”.

Therefore, in order to back artisan fishing as the future of fishing activities in the Balearic Islands, it is necessary to put an end to harmful practices such as those mentioned above.

Establishing an effective control system which ensures a reliable statistical record of the catches and improving the selectivity of the fishing gear are some of Oceana’s proposals for improving artisan fishing in the Balearic Islands. Other recommendations contained in the Oceana publication include diversifying the species being fished to provide a respite for those which are being overexploited, performing scientific research to optimise management and improving the marketing and return on sales. This way, artisan fishing will be an activity which is responsible with the marine environment and it will be the real future of fishing in the Balearic Islands.

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): Responsible artisan fishing: The future of fishing in the Balearic Islands