ClientEarth lawyers are set to sue the EU-UK over the unsustainable fishing limits that were agreed for 2022 CEPESCA has called on the Spanish government to act urgently on the fuel crisis and implement measure similar to the COVID-19 pandemic measures The Spanish Ministry of Fisheries has welcomed the significant increases in fishing opportunities in 2023 due to the EU-UK fisheries agreement

The Spanish Ministry of Fisheries has welcomed the significant increases in fishing opportunities in 2023 due to the EU-UK fisheries agreement

  • There are significant increases for the species of greatest interest to the Spanish fleet in Community and United Kingdom waters
  • Also included are the TACs of important species, fundamentally for the Spanish fleets of the national fishing ground, such as mackerel, blue whiting or horse mackerel.

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has announced that it values ​​the agreement reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom for the establishment of the Total Allowable Catches (TAC) and quotas for 2023 of the fish populations shared between both parties, since they are produced significant increases for the species of greatest interest to the Spanish fleet.

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The agreement, signed by the European Commission and the United Kingdom, culminates a consultation period that began in October. The agreement sets TAC and quotas for 114 stocks, of which more than 40 are of interest to Spain, among which are both main and emblematic species, as well as others that without having the same importance are decisive for maintaining the activity of the fleet because they allow avoiding the so-called choke effect due to the landing obligation.

Among the main species, the Ministry reports good results for northern hake (waters of the United Kingdom, Ireland and France) stand out, with an increase in the TAC of 5%. Monkfish and megrims from zones 7 and 8abde (mainly Irish and French waters), increased by 11% and 12%, respectively, while Porcupine Norway lobster, where available scientific recommendations under the Maximum Sustainable Yield are fully followed, increases by 35%. Some 90 Spanish vessels that use bottom longline, trawl and drift gear benefit from these increases.

“In some cases of less economic dependence, there are some reductions in the TACs in accordance with scientific recommendations, such as for megrims and anglerfish from the west of Scotland (ICES zone 6), or ling, but the quotas available for Spain in 2023 are above the needs established based on the levels of catches made in recent years,” says the Ministry.

Among the potential choke species, the result obtained for sea bream in zones 6, 7 and 8 (mainly caught in Cantabrian and French waters) stands out, with maintenance of the TAC for 2023 for bycatch,” says the Ministry. “In the case of cod from zone 7, the 2022 TAC is maintained, while for zone 6 there is a slight reduction. In these three cases, the current scientific recommendations are for TAC 0 for 2023, so it is necessary to adopt minimum quota levels that allow covering the unavoidable by-catch that occurs in the development of fisheries directed at the main species.”

Even so, by 2023 the reinforcement of the measures to support the recovery of these species will continue, such as the case of sea bream through the implementation of new closed areas promoted by Spain at the regional level and which will be officially adopted in the coming days by the European Commission.”

Coastal States negotiations

There are other species of interest to Spain that are also reflected in the agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, mainly small pelagics. The Ministry says:

“Thus, in the absence of concluding consultations between the so-called coastal States of the NEAFC (European Union, United Kingdom, Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland) in the first months of 2023, TACs are set for blue whiting and mackerel. In the first case, the quota is still provisional for the so-called northern component, also pending the closing of the bilateral agreement with Norway by 2023. For the southern component, the one that mainly captures the Spanish fleet, its quota increases by 80% with respect to 2022. The Cantabrian and Northwest trawling fleet mainly benefits from this. In the case of the mackerel, Despite the slight decrease in the TAC recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the initial Spanish quota is increased by 20%. In 2022, the payment of the fine for overfishing of this species in 2009 has ended, and which involved an automatic deduction from the Spanish quota since 2016 of 5,544 tons per year.”

Horse mackerel closure avoided

“In the case of the western horse mackerel stock, a significant reduction of the available quotas is adopted with respect to 2022 of 78%, but the closure of the fishery recommended by ICES is avoided, which would have meant the choke of many of the community fisheries, among them that of the Spanish fishing fleet. “In this way, these quotas will cover the unavoidable by-catch that occurs in the development of the fisheries,” says the Ministry.

Spain will seek to catch albacore tuna in UK waters

“In addition, the agreement develops some other elements of interest and future work in the fisheries relationship under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Of special interest is the incorporation of a measure demanded by the Spanish fleet, such as access to the waters of the United Kingdom to, if necessary, be able to catch albacore, something that until now was not possible,” concludes the Ministry’s press release.

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Spanish Ministry of Fisheries welcomes EU-UK fisheries agreement for 2023

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