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Ponta Delgada ,  March 13, 2018

President of the Government announces measures to increase fishers' income and ensure sustainability of resources

The President of the Government announced today a series of measures for the restructuring of the Fisheries sector in the Region with the aim of increasing the income of Azorean fishers and contributing to the sustainability of the exploitation of fish resources.
"We are here before the representatives of the fishing industry to fulfil our commitment and to present measures that are in line with these premises. They were created by the working group established for the restructuring of fisheries with the contribution of representatives of the Fisheries Federation, the University of the Azores and independent personalities, which naturally adds value to this work," said Vasco Cordeiro.
Speaking at the opening of the Regional Fisheries Council, the President of the Government stated that this plan is based on four axes that concern the readjustment of the fleet and the fishing effort in the Region, the mobility of fishers, the management of resources as well as control and the monitoring of this activity.
After emphasising the importance of the contribution and the assessment of partners on these measures, Vasco Cordeiro announced the creation of a Support Scheme for the Definitive Cessation of Fishing Activity, a measure with an allocation over half a million Euros.
The regional fishing fleet is composed of about 550 vessels with an average age of 25 years.
It is mostly a traditional fishing fleet insofar as more than 60 percent of vessels are than nine metres.
"This measure aims to provide a system that gives dignity to those who own vessels less than 12 metres and wish to retire from the activity. It will be directed, above all, to the islands where the fishing area available per vessel is reduced," said the President of the Government.
Under Axis 2 of the Action Plan for the Restructuring of Fisheries, the Government is preparing a Support Scheme on Fisher Mobility. It aims to mitigate a constraint identified by the Working Group on the number of fishers per vessel considered excessive on some islands. This situations result in low income and shortage of fishers in certain areas.
"With this scheme, we will support the mobility of Azorean fishers for the exercise of fishing activities in different vessels that require crew members in a period ranging from four to eight months," said the President of the Government.
The third axis of this Plan concerns the Management of Fishery Resources. There are already several measures implemented under this fundamental pillar because of the consultation of positions with the entities representing the sector. They are primarily focused on the enhancement of fish products, the management of red seabream and alfonsino quotas, the new management model on horse mackerel catches and the new criteria on the issuance of fishing licenses in the Region, among others.
"We believe it is still necessary to consolidate the efforts on the management of resources in legislative terms. Therefore, we have decided to move forward with a series of initiatives this year that will be analysed and debated by the sector's representatives." They concern the new regulations on auctions, warehouses and collection points as well as the new legal scheme on aquaculture in order to simplify existing procedures for this activity, said Vasco Cordeiro.
Regarding Axis 4, which concerns the Control and Supervision of the Fishing Activity, the President of the Government announced the reinforcement of this component through a series of measures to protect the income of fishers who abide by the law in their day-to-day work.
The measures envisaged include video surveillance in the main ports where fish markets are located and the reinforcement of video surveillance in areas where fishing is restricted, namely in the Condor Bank (supported by radar), Faial-Pico channel, marine areas of Ribeira Quente, Vila Franca do Campo Islet and Caloura (São Miguel Island), and in Ponta do Topo (São Jorge).
The Government will also move forward with the implementation of Continuous Monitoring Equipment, through the extension of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to regional vessels registered for onshore fishing, which are not covered by the European obligation to use this sort of equipment.
After stressing the planned investments in fishing support infrastructures of around 15 million Euros, Vasco Cordeiro stressed that the recognition of the fishers involves the fair redistribution of income within the legal framework on labour relations.
"Despite all these measures we can implement, there is an aspect that we have to face up to. The time has come to implement a Collective Labour Convention as an absolutely fundamental tool for the sustainable development of this sector," stressed the President of the Government.
"When we talk about the sustainability of fisheries, we cannot just talk about environmental and economic sustainability. We need to talk about social sustainability, which requires the need for a Collective Labour Convention in order to guarantee the working conditions and income conditions of these professionals, stressed Vasco Cordeiro.
According to him, the Government of the Azores believes it is possible to reconcile all interests in this matter to ensure that this is the path to follow, "otherwise we will jeopardise the social sustainability of this sector."


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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