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Horta ,  September 06, 2016

Reopening of alfonsino fishing is good news for Azorean fishers, says Brito e Abreu

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology announced in Horta the reopening of alfonsino fishing, through an amendment to the ordinance managing the "Beryx" quota that was published today in the Official Gazette. He pointed out that this measure, proposed to the Secretary of State for the Sea by Regional Government, "is good news for fisheries" in the archipelago.
Fausto Brito e Abreu spoke at the Legislative Assembly during a debate on the situation of the fisheries sector. He stressed that the Regional Government "has exerted influence with the National Government the European Commission and other member states in the Council Fisheries to defend the interests of the Azores."
The Regional Secretary defended that, in order "to solve the crises the fishing industry faces, it is necessary "properly diagnose" its origin, pointing out "external causes" as those that are "having a greater impact on the sector's profitability and, thus, require immediate action."
As for external causes, the government official stressed "the impact of three consecutive years of poor tuna catches, the two consecutive 25% cuts in the red sea bream quota and delayed implementation of POSEI Fisheries, which failed to make payments to fishers in 2014 and 2015."
Brito e Abreu also identified "structural causes, which require long-term measures," namely regarding "the size of the Azorean fleet and the fishing effort for the resources available or the way that wealth is traditionally distributed along the value fisheries chain."
In his speech, the government official said the external causes are the least likely to rely on administrative measures or policies pursued by Region's governing bodies. According to him, the lack of tuna in the Azores Sea "is not solved by decree." In turn, the "cuts in the red seabream quota as well as the delay of POSEI-Fisheries were decisions taken by the European Commission, the EU Fisheries Council, which had been rejected by the Portuguese State and the Regional Government.
The Regional Secretary recalled that, "in order to foster the necessary transformation in the sector and address structural challenges," the Regional Government has created last year, “in collaboration with the sector," the document "Better Fisheries, More Income"; the latter comprises 22 measures organised under five strategic areas.
Brito e Abreu also stated that a Working Group, appointed by the President of the Regional Government, was recently established "to propose the restructuring of the sector in the long-terms in order to adapt the fleet to the available marine resources."
With the aim of increasing the profitability of the sector, the Regional Secretary defended the need to "reduce costs and increase revenue," pointing out, as example, the investments "in the operation and safety of fishing ports, equipment and fishing gear houses to render fishing operations faster and more efficient."
"Recently, we have levelled out the diesel price for traditional and coastal fishing, decreasing by 10 cents per litre, which benefited more than half of the regional fishing fleet," said the government official. He also mentioned the support to "mitigate costs arising from the maintenance of vessels," the reopening of supported granted ordinance 74/2008 and the establishment of a line of credit for the fisheries sector - Credipesca.
Moreover, the Regional Secretary stressed the investments in the cold storage network to increase the profitability of the sector, and "further increase the value of fish products" as well as the investment on ice machines, the remodelling of fish products and the purchase of refrigerator equipment.
The promotion of Azorean fish in international fairs and the organisation of conducting internal campaigns for the recovery of low commercial value species but with high nutritional value were other outstanding measures.
"We are moving forward with the labelling of fish and we will soon start online sales, attracting more buyers to our Region," the government official stressed, adding that the direct sale to final consumers by fishers will "be possible in selected locations in the Region."
"All these measures have been thoroughly discussed with the sector," said the government official. In this context, he stressed "the spirit of close cooperation and union between shipowners, fishers, catchers, fishmongers, scientists and local administrations will help us overcoming the challenges and the crisis the fishing sector is currently facing."
"The Government of the Azores is always open to debate and create further measures with all parties and political forces with the aim of boosting the profitability of the industry and improving the quality of life of Azorean fishers, thus ensuring the future of fishing in the Azores," said the Regional Secretary.


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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