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Horta ,  April 18, 2019

Azores and Madeira with 70 tonnes of bluefin tuna quota for 2019

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stated in Horta that Azorean vessels have been authorised to catch bluefin tuna few a weeks ago. According to him, this situation is "the result of the efforts undertaken by the Regional Government with the European Commission and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)."
Gui Menezes spoke to journalists following the European Parliament's adoption of the legislative package to grant the Azores access to a bluefin quota, a measure already approved by the European Commission. On the occasion, he stated this measure "would formally enter into force in June or July." However, considering that bluefin tuna is found in the Azores at this time of year, the Regional Government wanted to anticipate its implementation.
"We are pleased to see the European Parliament confirming the fishing opportunities that have been created for the Azores and Madeira in terms of bluefin tuna fishing," stated the government official. As he emphasised, this is also "the result of the efforts" undertaken by the Azorean Government regarding the promotion of tuna fisheries.
In this context, Gui Menezes pointed out the organisation of the International Conference on Pole-and-Line Tuna Fishing in 2017. It approved the Azores Declaration in Support of Pole-and-Line Tuna Fishing and the promotion of more traditional and sustainable fisheries.
The Regional Secretary stated that the Government "is drawing up an action plan for the promotion of tuna with the aim of achieving more gains in bigeye and bluefin tuna fisheries," taking into consideration that "there is room for growth in these fisheries."
According to Gui Menezes, the Regional Secretariat for the Sea, Science and Technology has been working with industry stakeholders, including the Fisheries Federation, the Association of Tuna Producers and Similar Species (APASA) and the Association of Fish Traders. The aim is "to prepare an action plan that enhances the value of this species in high added-value markets and boost the income of Azorean shipowners and fishers.
The Regional Secretary stated that there are planned onboard training courses on the handling of tuna so that "its value may be further enhanced in order to reach high added-value markets."
The Regional Government stressed that the bluefin quota for the Autonomous Regions could reach 70 tonnes, in addition to the 100 tonnes of fishing possibilities they already have for this species as bycatch.
Gui Menezes pointed out that "the Regional Government, with the support of the National Government, had to prepare a management plan for bluefin catches in compliance with several criteria required by ICCAT and the European Commission."
In this regard, it is expected that about a dozen small coastal vessels over 12 metres in length will be able to focus on this fishery as far as "they have more handling and storage conditions."
These vessels have to meet certain criteria, namely the installation of a VMS, a geographical location and catch control system, and an electronic logbook, among other requirements.
The Regional Secretary also stated that a meeting with APASA, canneries and LOTAÇOR was held in February to plan this year's tuna season, ensuring that "the Region is prepared for the new harvest."


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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