Sustainable fishing under discussion in Loulé
“We have expectations on the results of this international meeting, in particular on what it can bring to Portugal […]with a very relevant role that the discussion here will have on our outermost regions,” Maria do Céu Antunes told the Lusa news agency on the sidelines of the inaugural session of the meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Tunas of the Atlantic (ICCAT), in Loulé, Algarve.
The meeting, which runs until November 21, brings together the 52 “contracting parties” (countries and international organizations), with the aim of “reaching the best consensus in the adoption of regulatory measures, and thus obtaining adequate results for sustainable management, at the environmental, economic and social levels, of the resources regulated by this Regional Fisheries Management Body, namely the large migratory species”, according to a note from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food transmitted to the press.
“Aquaculture has a very important appearance in our country, so it makes perfect sense that we can bring these 52 participants here to reflect on these issues,” said the Minister of Agriculture and Food, also recalling that “Portugal is represented by the European Commission”. an institution that will negotiate on behalf of the 27 member countries of the European Union.
Maria do Céu Antunes hopes that the results of the meeting can contribute “to the objectives of the United Nations and to the ambition of Portugal and the European Commission to have sustainable fishing, which encourages fishing communities and encourages the transformation and internal and external national trade.”
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas will mainly deal with regulatory measures for bigeye tuna, bluefin tuna and North Atlantic swordfish, species which, according to the minister in charge of the sector, “are very important, in particular for the outermost regions” of Madeira and the Azores.
According to the Portuguese Minister of Fisheries, the global quota (of all countries) for bigeye tuna “could increase”, currently standing at 62,500 tonnes and being discussed for an increase to 75,000 tonnes: “ We will all be satisfied if we reach 70,000 tonnes,” the minister said.
Regarding bluefin tuna, “a new management rule will be discussed taking into account greater stability, especially in the long term”, and there could also be an increase in the quota, currently 36,000 tonnes, to 40,000 tonnes.
As for the North Atlantic swordfish, the species “is more stable” and according to scientific studies its quota should remain at the current 13,200 tonnes, while Portugal has around 1,162 tonnes, according to data provided by Maria do Céu Antunes.
In October, during the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the European Unionwhich took place in Luxembourg, Portugal championed measures to increase catches of bigeye tuna, bluefin tuna and swordfish from the North Atlantic.
The European Union sets annual catch limits for most commercial fish species, and these limits are also known as “total allowable catches” (TACs) or fishing opportunities. Each TAC is allocated to Member States through national quotas, and each Member State is responsible for ensuring that its quotas are not exceeded.