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Horta ,  December 28, 2017

Condor Bank remains closed to fishing until 2020 for conduction of scientific studies

The Government of the Azores, after consulting industry partners, has decided to maintain the ban on demersal fishing in the area of Condor Bank, located at about 17 kilometres from the island of Faial.

An ordinance published today in the Official Journal determines the ban on fishing activities using certain types of fishing gear in that seamount for period of three years.

In 2008, a permanent scientific observatory was set up in Condor Bank where scientific campaigns were carried out to collect data and test new technologies for the study of deep-sea environments and species.

Coordinated by the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries (DOP) of the University of the Azores, this project is considered of great interest for an in-depth knowledge on the ecosystems of seamounts as well as for the study of protection effects in the communities of these ecosystems.

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology highlighted the importance of maintaining the Condor Bank closed to fishing for the conduction of scientific studies that will allow, among other things, the monitoring of the environmental and biological dynamics of several demersal species, such as red seabream.

Hence, Gui Menezes considered that maintaining this bank, as "a reference area where there is no fishing is essential from a scientific perspective in order to perceive the natural dynamics of species, without the existence of human influence." This goal will be achieved by comparing the results obtained in the monitoring campaigns directed to demersal and deep-sea species that are carried out on an annual basis, covering all islands and the main fishing areas of the archipelago.

The Regional Secretary stressed that the scientific data collected on the abundance of species are "fundamental to support to the decision and to assert the position of the Azores with the European Commission on certain matters related to fishing policies."

The legal document published today continues to allow fishing in the Condor Bank area with gear that does not affect seabed habitats, such as tuna pole and line fishing, provided that vessels are authorised by the Regional Directorate for Fisheries and equipped with monitoring system or continuous location in operation.

The legislation forbidding any vessel carrying unauthorised fishing gear on board from crossing the Condor Bank between sunset and sunrise remains in force.

This seamount, which is 1.8 kilometres high and 23 kilometres long, was closed to fishing for the first time in June 2010.

The Condor Bank, located at about 17 kilometres from the island of Faial, is one of the most accessible seamounts for the scientific community since most of these banks are located in the deep ocean or in the high seas, far from the islands.

"Condor is nowadays an internationally recognised study area of reference, whose results have contributed in a very relevant manner to the scientific knowledge on these ecosystems," said Gui Menezes.

In May, the first meeting of the Condor Project Working Group took place in Horta, bringing together researchers of the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries and fishing associations from Faial and Pico Islands. It addressed several topics, including the presentation of the results of the last campaign.

The results of the 2017 Condor campaign targeting demersal species are not yet available as it only ended two weeks ago.


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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