Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Affairs has decided to provisionally raise the maximum volume of anchovy catches by the Spanish fleet in the Cantabrian Sea by 6,800 tonnes following the presentation of a proposal by the European Commission to increase the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) up to 33,000 tonnes from the current TAC of 25,000 tonnes.
This raises the maximum catch volume for the first half of the year by 6,120 tonnes and the reserve set for the fishery in the second half of the year by 680 tonnes.
The TAC review for anchovy in the Cantabrian Sea-Northwest was a commitment obtained at the Council of EU Ministers held on 14 and 15 December 2015 provided that conservation and consensus safeguards were met.
The report by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries reflected the good status of this resource after data showed that anchovy biomass and recruitment levels were the highest since records began.
Given this situation, which allowed a higher precautionary TAC for 2016, the Spanish and French fisheries sectors reached an agreement to propose changing the operation rule based on the currently existing biomass.
Based on the proposal presented to the Council by the European Commission on Wednesday, and despite the fact that the proposal must go through the administrative procedures for subsequent approval by the Council of Ministers, it has been agreed to include this increase in the Spanish quota and raise the available quota based on the normal development of fishing.
This new situation will allow anchovy fishing to be extended – which takes place in the first half of the year – at a time when the level of landings was about to reach the allocated quota.
The ministerial department encourages fishermen to maintain compliance with the regulatory measures approved by the most representative organisations in the sector in order to obtain greater profitability from fishing.