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Horta ,  July 14, 2010

Azores prohibit fishing with trawl gear and gillnets

The practice of fishing with trawl gear and gillnets at a depth exceeding 30 metres as well as with drift nets and trammel nets is prohibited in the Azores Sea.

The measure, which will be enforced in the Azores Sea, a subarea of the national Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), is envisaged in the “legal framework of Azorean fishing,” approved at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday by proposal of the Government.
Under this legislation, divers are henceforth prohibited of using net gear, firearms, explosive, poisonous and toxic substances, electrical discharges and dumping into sea any object or substance that might harm the marine environment.
Furthermore, this legal document also establishes that the fishing activity in the Azorean Sea, either unassisted or assisted by regional vessels, may only be carried out through the following methods: gathering, handline fishing, trapping, seine fishing and gillnetting.
According to this new legal framework, in which recreational and tourism fishing are subject to specific regulations, the capture of species for scientific purposes is also subject to authorisation and licensing as well as the species for aquariums and aquaculture farms.
The recently approved legislation applies to all individuals or legal persons engaged in fishing activities in the Azorean fishing territory, which comprises the inner waters and the territorial sea adjacent to the archipelago.
Moreover, it also determines that the preservation measures, management and exploitation of marine resources in the Azores Sea to be applied to regional vessels, fishers, divers, shore fishers in the Azorean fishing territory are defined by an ordinance issued by government official in charge of the fisheries sector.
The diploma stipulates that these measures must be based on the best available scientific information on species or stocks, taking into account biological and environmental aspects as well as social and economic factors.
In addition to stipulating the authorisation and licensing scheme of fishing activity and use of fishing gear, this extensive regional legislative decree, which contains over two hundred articles, also focus on the crew requirements, defining the operation areas and the features of vessels.
The legislation also sets regulatory standards for professional fishing, maritime registration, issuance of the respective certificate, classification, categories, access requirements, duties, training, certification and the recruitment system.
The diploma will also allow the stipulation of maximum amount of fishing per vessel with regard to certain species, thus contributing to the enhancement of fishing products.
For the Regional Government, the Azores Sea, which the encompasses Azores subarea of the national EEZ, being 400 times the size of the archipelago, is a natural extension of the land territory of the Azores and a “strategic pillar” for the economic prosperity and food safety of the Azoreans.
According to the document’s preamble, “if always managed with precaution and balance in order to enable the sustainable exploitation of its fishing potential,” the Azores Sea may provide “not only a continuous source of economic support" but also “ new opportunities to boost the social and employment development” in the Region.
The diploma also mentions that the potential of the fishing resources in Azorean waters is “fragile” and “important for regional self-sustainability,” leading to the need “to establish management policies in order achieve balance in its exploitation, thus ensuring its preservation in the medium and long term.”


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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