Algarvean fishermen outraged over premature anchovy fishing ban
Anchovy fishing will be shut down from next Wednesday, November 6th onwards, at a time when it usually occurs most on the southern coast of the country. This is due to the country’s yearly anchovy fishing quota being hit earlier than expected.
The nature guardianship measure has today motivated protests from two large fishing companies based in the Algarve, Olhãopesca and Barlapescas.
Miguel Cardoso, manager of Olhãopesca, explains that in recent months there has been a large concentration of anchovy on the north coast, which has led to an “exaggerated catch” in the order of four tons a day, “sometimes even more, which has eaten up the whole year’s quota”.
Since 1986 catches of certain species in Portuguese waters have been restricted by Total Allowable Catches (TACs), agreed annually by the Council of Fisheries ministers and divided by quotas between Member States according to the Relative Stability Principle. This wouldn’t be an issue if each region was given their own individual quota, however, the principle works in such a way that a quota is set for a whole country.
The annual anchovy Total Allowable Catch in the period from the 1st of July 2019 to the 30th of June 2020 was revised downwards to 10240 tonnes which is split between the member states. Portugal’s TAC was 5343 tonnes for this year’s period. However, Portugal’s quota has been used up for quicker than expected, and as such fishing for anchovies will be closed down before the planned season was set to come to a close. This earlier deadline is Wednesday the 6th of November, which will mark the exhaustion of the quota.
According to the fishermen protesting today in the Algarve, most of this season’s anchovies was mainly caught by a fleet operating north of Cabo da Roca, in Northern Portugal, “on a massive scale, with high daily catch limits”.
This means that the Algarvean fishermen are rightly outraged, considering their livelihood has been cut off far earlier than expected, taking a torch to their expected profits for this year.
“The anchovy that is now passing along the Algarve coast is clean, unmixed, and has been profitable for this sector. It is important, at a time when our fleets needs to make some alternative catch to sardines,” explained Mr. Cardoso.
“The problem is that we are now faced with this premature closure” which from the Algarve’s perspective is an unfair measure. “In order to promote fishing in the north, the south has been harmed. This reveals poor resource management with serious consequences for the southern fleet. We will require the government to implement more balanced measures so that the quota gives for the whole year and for everyone,” he concluded.