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Bilbau ,  July 23, 2018

Regional Government defends joint quota of albacore and bigeye tuna

The Regional Director for Fisheries stated in Bilbao, Spain, that "it is not acceptable" that tuna fishers in the Azores "are subject to the same rules applied to large seiners."
Luís Rodrigues stressed that the Azores have defended a "positive discrimination" for tuna fishing using pole-and-line techniques, through "quota exemption," adding that the Region has also "demanded the creation of passageways and increased control of fish aggregating systems."
The Regional Director spoke on the sidelines of the meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) running until Wednesday in Bilbau, where the most recent evaluation of tuna stocks will be under discussion. This body will also issue recommendations on fishing opportunities (quotas) and management measures to be discussed in November at the annual meeting.
According to Luís Rodrigues, international bodies involved in the management of tuna species will have to "be creative and determined to find solutions to tackle overfishing by purse seine fleets."
"Given the large annual variations in the abundance of bigeye tuna and albacore in our waters, we defend the creation of multispecies quotas for tuna catches to mitigate these fluctuations as well as to minimise the effect of catch limitations on our fleet due to existence of separate quotas for each species," said the government official.
The Regional Director pointed out that the Azorean fleet "registered good tuna fisheries in 2017, but did not reach the bigeye tuna quota limits; the situation reversed this year." Therefore, the "solution may involve the creation of a joint quota for both species."
According to him, "another solution may involve the transfer of albacore tuna fishing possibilities that Portugal has in the South Atlantic, corresponding to about 600 tonnes, to obtain the equivalent of quantity of tuna in the North Atlantic."
"Portugal has few vessels fishing in the South Atlantic, so the quota is seldom used," said the government official. In this regard, he stressed that the Azorean Government intends to propose to the National Government "the transfer of Portugal's quota to Member States whose fleet is fishing in these territories, exchanging it for tuna quotas in the North Atlantic."
In addition to the Regional Director for Fisheries, the Azores delegation attending the ICCAT meeting also includes members of the Azores Fisheries Federation and the Association of Tuna Producers and Similar Species (APASA).


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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