Oceana supports Spanish Government decision to close mackerel fishery early

These measures are necessary to guarantee the stock’s heath and the fleet’s subsistence.

Press Release Date: March 7, 2011

Location: Madrid


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Spain has already exhausted close to 90% of its assigned quota

Oceana believes the decision made by the Spanish General Secretariat of the Sea to close the mackerel fishery in the north-eastern Bay of Biscay is justified because of the imminent exhaustion of its corresponding quota, particularly when the agreed catch quota has been ignored and significantly exceeded for the past two years. For now, the seine and trawl fleets have been paralysed, while the small-scale fleets are not affected because they have not reached their assigned quotas.

The public agency has calculated that 90% of the quota has been exhausted and the decision to close the fishery was based on the precautionary principle. We must not forget that this fishery was recently sanctioned for exceeding its catch quota and because this type of measure was not applied.

“These decisions are necessary in order to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of fishing resources and compliance with regulations. The government would be acting irresponsibly if it did not apply such measures, and the fishermen should accept them because they would benefit from increased abundance of stocks on the longer term,” points out Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “Not applying these measures would have serious consequences.”

For years, Oceana has been demanding more effort from the government in the supervision and control of fisheries, as a fundamental tool to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of fishing resources. Systematic overfishing of species and ignoring scientific recommendations and European fisheries legislation, endangers the health of stocks and the long term viability of the sector.

Oceana’s recommendations on fishing opportunities for 2011 (pg. 25)