Wednesday, 28 November 2018 09:50

Spain: Cut for mackerel quota worries Cantabrian fisherman

EM6 18 News Int MackerelRecommendations by The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) sees a drastic reduction in fishing opportunities for mackerel (Scomber Scombrus) in 2019. ICES recommended a reduction of 42%, which would seriously affect the Cantabrian coastal fleet.

Such a drastic reduction comes off the back of the latest ICES study on the population of mackerel. Scientists from ICES suggest that the total catches should not exceed 318 403 tonnes in 2019. For 2018, The European Union, Norway and the Faroe Islands agreed to a quota of 816 797 tonnes. 550 948 tonnes above the limit recommended by ICES for 2019.

Reasoning behind such a drastic reduction is twofold. The decrease in the spawning biomass since 2011 and a fishing mortality that biologists consider is above the maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

If these recommendations are followed it would leave the EU with approximately half of the 318 043 tonnes due to distributions it makes with Norway and the Faroe Islands. Due to EU allocations Spain would have 76 % of the total or equivalent to 11 927 tonnes.

2018 saw the Cantabrian fleet have a quota of 30 746 tonnes. The purse seine fishery in Galicia considers the proposed reduction excessive and unwarranted. Fisherman report that the mackerel population has been increasing while their catches are being reduced according to the Association of Purse Seine Owners of Galicia. The fisherman of the Basque Country also believes that there is an abundant population of mackerel to increase quotas.