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EU Banning Gillnetting Is “Senseless” Say Spanish European Union, July 26, 12

The General Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) considers that the European Commission’s proposal (EC) to ban bottom trawling and gillnets is "senseless as it lacks scientific basis."

According to Cepesca secretary general, Javier Garat, the EU executive's initiative demonstrates that the Commissioner of Fisheries of the European Union (EU), Maria Damanaki, is once again working in accordance with what is stated by non-governmental organizations (NGO) advocating for the environment.

Garat took part of a meeting in Madrid with members of Cepesca Board and the secretary general of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) of Spain, Carlos Domínguez.

Cepesca secretary Javier Garat at the meeting with Magrama secretary Carlos Dominguez

At the meeting, the secretary explained that if Damanaki’s real goal is to protect resources and vulnerable marine ecosystems in the waters of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), she should follow the recommendations from the United Nations and the international guidelines from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the management of deepwater fisheries.

First, Garat said oceanographic research vessels should assess the corresponding areas to delineate vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Depending on the results, the limitations and the appropriate management measures should be adopted there.

Cepesca stresses that Spain is a pioneer in oceanographic research applied to the detection of vulnerable marine ecosystems and to the implementation of management measures to protect them from the possible fishing impact.

"There is no good or bad gear. All the fishing methods have some impact on the environment, like any economic activity. What makes it good or bad is the use made of the gear and the regulation that is set," the group stated.

The Confederation also told Dominguez about the sector’s intention to report at the highest level in all the Community institutions "the abuse the fishing sector receives from Commissioner Damanaki, who has skipped all the principles of good governance, ignoring the input from the industry and studies on the environmental and socioeconomic impacts that should inspire the European proposals."

"We will protest and express our complaints in all the European institutions, Council of Ministers, the European Parliament (EP) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) for the sector’s opinion to be heard voicing its proposal of the evaluation and determination of vulnerable ecosystems and species and from there the implementation of protective measures," pointed out Cepesca in a statement.

At the meeting, the main issues affecting the fishing industry and the challenges it faces were discussed:

• The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP);
• The discard policy being debated in the context of the reform;
• The Future of fisheries agreements with third countries, notably Mauritania, Morocco, Guinea Bissau and Gabon;
• The conflict situation with Gibraltar;
• Relationships with Portugal;
• The approval of the special register of deep-sea fishing vessels operating exclusively outside EU waters;
• The proposal for finning (fluttering) regulation.