Madrid - In an unprecedented initiative, for the first time 220 Spanish scientists, coming from more than 50 universities, research centers and scientific associations have addressed an open letter to Mr. Arias Cañete, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Spain, asking for a change in its previous position on the European Common Fisheries Policy.
This request, led by the Spanish Federation of Oceanographers (FEO), takes place simultaneously with the start of the final negotiations of the new Common Fisheries Policy to be held during the month of May. It is expected that during this month the European Parliament, the European Council of Ministers and the European Commission agree on the new regulatory framework of the European Common Fisheries Policy, which will set the course of fishing policies in Europe over the next 10 years.
At this turning point, the letter asks the Minister to be ambitious, and to go beyond the position taken so far by the Government, and to promote the inclusion in the final text of the following specific demands.
One of the key elements of the new Common Fisheries Policy should be the recovery of fisheries stocks.
"We must establish fishing mortalities based on existing biomass, that should allow fish stocks to recover above levels that are capable of producing the maximum sustainable yield, as soon as possible, setting a clear timetable to achieve this objective."
Fernando Condal, Vice President of the Catalan Oceanographic Association (ACOIO).
A second element is related to the elimination of overcapacity.
In this regard, Montse Bargallo, MSc in economics and fisheries management, and ACOIO member said "The current measure of fishing capacity does not provide a reliable indication of actual fishing capacity of the fleet. It is imperative to use the most representative indicators for each fleet. For example, the drive speed and the aperture area of the network in drag. A good capacity measure is the basis of the success of structural fishing policies. Along the same lines, it is essential to perform annual assessments to evaluate if the fleet capacity and ecosystem resilience are balanced, linking the possibility of use of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to this balance."
Control and enforcement
Finally, Jorge de los Bueis, president of the Galician Oceanographers Association, and president of FEO, said "To achieve the objectives in fisheries management it is essential to implement monitoring and control mechanisms based on relevant scientific criteria. In order to achieve full compliance with the agreed management plans, we need both good regulation and adequate funding. "
"We ask Mr. Arias Cañete, in this final phase of the negotiations, to go further in some aspects previously defended by the Spanish Government so far. We need ambitious reform to ensure the future of fisheries, marine ecosystem and coastal communities."
Aurora Requena, FEO, Secretary of ACOIO.