Madrid, Nov 21 (EFE) .- The Government will modify the system of sanctions and fines for the fleet, with the presentation of two new laws around January 2021, to modernize fishing control and promote sustainable activity, as explained the Secretary General for Fisheries, Alicia Villauriz.
Villauriz has underlined, in an interview with Efe, that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food foresees “adjustments” of the sanctioning regime, taking into account the most significant “breaches” and seeking a “balance” between the protection of fishing grounds and the “proportionate” penalty to offenders.
The Ministry intends to present “in unison and hand in hand” two laws, one to promote sustainable activity -with research as a basis- and another to update the regulation on control matters, also in connection with the modifications that are already being processed within of the European Union (EU) regarding fisheries surveillance.
Within the EU, the debate in Brussels covers, for example, the installation of video surveillance cameras on ships.
Villauriz, of Galician origin, has indicated that the idea is to “review” important aspects of the sanctions regime of the current Maritime Fishing Law, but has not detailed amounts, after noting that the adjustment could be “up or down.”
In that sense, he recalled that last spring, within the measures to alleviate the coronavirus in agriculture, there was a modification that graduated the sanctions related to the sale of molluscs, considering that the classification that had prevented the brotherhoods from accessing community aid
MEDITERRANEAN FISHERIES, THE MOST AFFECTED BY COVID-19
In relation to the cuts in working days proposed by the European Commission (EC) for the Mediterranean fleet (-15%), Villauriz has admitted that fishermen have already made efforts and that the impact of the pandemic has been more pronounced in these waters than in other fishing grounds.
The trawler fleet depends more on the hotel and catering industry, he pointed out, and for this reason it has “suffered more” from the consequences of the restrictions due to the coronavirus.
Spain will defend that these circumstances are taken into account in the negotiation of fishing quotas for 2021 that the EU ministers will face in December, and that the measures to recover the Mediterranean are “progressive” and not abrupt cuts.
Spain will ask to extend the margin until 2025, a year set by the EU rules to achieve the maximum sustainable yield (safe biological levels) in Mediterranean fisheries.
“We have to assess whether we are making adequate progress, so as not to apply drastic measures next year,” he stressed.
THE SPANISH FLEET WILL NOT INTERRUPT ITS ACTIVITY FOR THE BREXIT
Regarding Brexit, Villauriz has remarked that on January 1 (end of the transitional period) Spanish activity in British waters and in fishing grounds shared between the EU and the United Kingdom will continue, although the distribution of fishing possibilities remains to be seen.
However, the negotiation of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Atlantic for 2021 comes with “uncertainty” about the British exit from the EU and the distribution of the hundred species that the Twenty-seven share with the United Kingdom.
At the EU Council in December, the decision on that hundred species will remain pending the outcome of the Brexit discussions, according to Villauriz, who has trusted in a “balanced” agreement and in the negotiating team with London.
Villauriz has defended the Executive’s action to alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus on the income from fishing and aquaculture.
In the future, he pointed out, the Government will implement new measures focused on research and fisheries management, thanks to the specific allocation assigned to this policy within the EU funds that Spain will receive for reconstruction after the pandemic.