The fishing sector did not come out of its astonishment yesterday, once again, with the movement of the European Commission. The opaque negotiations of the European Union with the United Kingdom 2022 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and quotas for shared species have come to an end. At a stroke, Brussels released a note and posted the entire agreement, signed by the negotiator Joost Paardekooper, in which he dealt a new blow to the fleet. In this case, to that of Gran Sol: shipowners keep 20% less hake, a reduction that does not alleviate the timid increases in monkfish and rooster and that joins the reduction of 12.5% of horse mackerel in Cantabrian waters and the rest of the scissors already completed for Iberian waters.
The Twenty-seven approved the agreement, whose deadline had been the 20th after an extension of ten days and after the provisional application of quotas for the first quarter of the year. The decision was made at the Fisheries Council on December 13 and is now updated based on this new pact with London.
Thus, for the northern hake a reduction of the TAC of 20% is agreed, a lower reduction than that proposed by the scientific recommendation, in application of the provisions of the multi-year community plan for western waters, but always within the ranges of sustainability. Spain will have 21,820 tons between Great Sun and waters to the west of France.
In the case of rooster (or rapante), there are increases of up to 7% of the quotas, according to the zones, as well as for the rapes, with an 8% increase in Gran Sol, with the exception of western Scotland. With this agreement, the Spanish fleet will have a total of 6,709 tons in the first case and 3,292 in the second.
The result is also important for those species of which Spain has no allocation and that they can be species of strangulation in the framework of the landing obligation, the norm that obliges to take all the catches to port. The TACs for deep-sea species (mainly sea bream and alfonsinos) are maintained, and in the case of cod for the west of Scotland stock the TAC is maintained, while in the Celtic Sea it is reduced by 20%, but in both cases it is estimated that the quotas that Spain can acquire through the existing exchange and exchange mechanisms will be sufficient to cover the levels of accidental catches.
Some populations like the Cantabrian horse mackerel (zone VIIIc) are also set in this agreement as being part of a broader biological population, which includes UK waters. Here there is a reduction of 12.6%, which will do special damage to the Galician littoral seine and trawler fleet. The Spanish quota remains at 8,710 tons.
In the coming weeks, the processing will begin for the transposition of this agreement into Community legislation through the annual TAC and quota Regulation, to which will be added the results achieved for Iberian waters and the Mediterranean Sea.
For the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, the pact “will provide the necessary stability to the Spanish fleet so that it can carry out a correct planning of its activity”.
In fact, the Ministry considers that the agreement is, in general terms, satisfactory for Spain, quite the opposite of the Consellería do Mar, which highlights that it is “negative” and that it will have an impact on the Galician economy of 92 million euros, of which 38 correspond to the fall in the turnover of the community fleet. Along with this, from Mar they warn that the quotas put at risk “around 340 jobs” and that it will reduce 14 million “in the salaries of the crews.”
From the sector, for their part, they speak of “disaster”. The deputy manager of the Vigo Shipowners Cooperative (ARVI), Hugo Gonzalez, pointed out that “although hake falls less than what was proposed” both from the ICES (scientists) and from the European Commission itself, the measure “does a lot of damage” to trawlers and there are longliners “that are greatly affected by the reduction”.
Similarly, he pointed to other “ax blows that also harm”, such as pollock, Norway lobster, horse mackerel, ling or monkfish from zone VI. “When we do the global account we will realize that the reductions are strong”González lamented.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.