Spain calls on EU Council of Ministers to address the Commission's decision to close fisheries in some deep-sea areas

News - 2022.9.19

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The ministry considers that this measure lacks rigour because it has not considered the latest scientific reports available, and has been taken without taking into account the criteria of proportion and balance set out in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The minister, who chaired the Advisory Council on Community Fisheries Policy, informed that Spain, France and Ireland have requested that this issue be included on the agenda of the next Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers of the European Union (EU), at which they will advocate that once the Commission has the new report from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), it should urgently review its decision.

Planas has assured that Spain will not relent in its efforts. At the meeting on 26 July, it was already clear that the Commission's proposal lacked scientific rigour and that its application of the scientific recommendation of the ICES was inadequate. The minister pointed out that there is better, more accurate and up-to-date scientific information available than that used by the Commission. Furthermore, the ICES recommendation is not designed or targeted at all fleets and indicates, for example, that it is possible to exclude, among others, some areas in the Gulf of Cadiz. The ministry understands that the inclusion of bottom longlining among the prohibited gears makes no sense either because it has little impact on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs).

Luis Planas reiterated that Spain shares the objective of conservation and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems and defends the adoption of measures to achieve this, but only if they are balanced, weighted and based on the three pillars of sustainability contemplated in the CFP: environmental, economic and social.

Today the ruling was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (EU) that orders the closure of the 87 areas to bottom fishing. The minister informed that next Wednesday, 21 September, the Secretary General for Fisheries, Alicia Villauriz, will meet with the fishing sector and the autonomous communities to analyse the details of its application.

At the Consultative Council, the minister also indicated that Spain will demand that the European Commission firmly defend EU interests in the negotiations to be held before the end of the year on fishing opportunities and the distribution of stocks in waters shared with the UK and in the agreement with Norway. The objective, according to the minister, is to achieve the best fishing opportunities, which are sufficient to guarantee the profitability of the fleets, at a time of particular difficulties such as this.

Non official translation