Fishing associations have grudgingly agreed that Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino has come through for them in the tense 24-hour negotiations marathon in Brussels which fixed Portugal’s fishing quotas for 2018.
Not only has Vitorino ‘saved’ the sardine from the threat of prohibition, she has increased limits on ray and crayfish and maintained catches of other species, including sole, monkfish and plaice.
Said Humberto Jorge of trawler fishing association Anopcerco, it could have been a lot worse.
“Taking into account that the initial proposals of the commission were quite bad and based on scientific recommendations that were not only poor, but quite incomprehensible, the final result ended up being not quite as negative as expected…”
Nonetheless, Anopcerco would have liked to have seen the quota for ‘biqueirão’ (anchovies) increased as these little fish is “abnormally abundant” along the Portuguese coast at levels “never before witnessed”.
In a statement, the association added that anchovies have a fragile life-cycle, so not taking advantage of them while they are in such large numbers in the sea is a wasted opportunity.
Meantime, the returning Minister of the Sea has pronounced herself “satisfied” with the results.
She told journalists: “Of course we would have liked to have more, but there has been a global reduction of total catches admissible at a European level”. This result, she said, is “quite favourable”.