Data loading...

Trap Netters Fill Their Bluefin Catch Quotas In 20 Days

The Cadiz bluefin trap netters are angry with the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) because they have been denied an extension on their tuna catch quota, while there are still tuna resources in the Almadraba.

Three of the four trap netters of the province of Cadiz - Barbate, Conil, Tarifa and Zahara de los Atunes – have already met their maximum catch quota for bluefin tuna assigned to them this year.

The Cadiz fishers’ “hands are tied” because the government has denied them an extension on the catch quota, explained sources from the Trap Net Fish Producers Organization (OPP).

MARM fixed a quota of 1,088 tons of bluefin tuna, but even this early in the season, the Zahara trap netters have captured 97 percent of their quota, Barbate, almost 100 percent, and Conil has surpassed 98 per cent.

On 20 May, the trap netters called on authorities to extend the catch quota through denominated ‘bottom maneuvers,’ but the proposal was rejected.

As a result of the refusal, the fishers cannot go and catch tuna “that continue entering,” complain the same sources. This situation causes great “indignation” and “nervousness,” because there are still specimens in the area, and orcas are now arriving, which consume this species.

“The worst thing that could happen would be if we were made to release those tuna. It would be a huge disaster after so many years of living in misery, without seeing tuna, and the one time they are [plentiful] they cannot be caught. It would be a major economic, social and political disgrace,” said Marta Crespo, spokesperson for the OPP.

“The trap nets are full and the trap netters are inland, a case that has never occurred before. Preoccupation abounds in the sector, because the assigned quotas do not allow us to catch tuna the way we always have, in a totally legal way,” protested Crespo.

Last year, some 1,200 tons of tuna were extracted in Cadiz (when the quota was superior to 1,400 tons), but the reduction of almost 40 percent of the maximum catch quota in 2009 is making "irreparable damage to the sector," assured the OPP spokeswoman.

This season’s quota is 1.088 tons of tuna.