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European Commission Penalizes Spain for Mackerel Overfishing

Sustainability Economics Politics +4 more

SPAIN - The European Commission has notified the Spanish Government that an appropriate sanction will be applied following the overfishing of mackerel in 2009.

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The European Commission has decided on a deduction scheme for future Spanish quotas. Following a detailed investigation, Spain is to pay back a total of 65,429 tonnes of mackerel over 11 years, i.e. by 2023.

This scheme takes into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects of the fishery in a balanced manner.

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "Enforcement of fisheries rules is the flipside of sustainability. When overshooting happens, the damage done to the stocks must be repaired. This should happen, whenever possible, without ruining fishermen, in particular those who complied with the rules".

The new regulation, adopted under the EU's Fisheries Control Regulation (1224/2009), is the result of detailed investigations. The Commission had serious doubts about the true levels of mackerel fishing registered in Spain in 2009, following inconsistencies between the data collected regarding catches and the sales of mackerel.

Beyond this decision, the Commission is cooperating closely with the Spanish administration to put in place the necessary mechanisms to prevent any such overfishing from arising again in the future.

The Commission highlights, in this perspective, the adoption of an Action Plan to bolster control measures and catch registration in particular, as agreed with Spain in July 2012. This Action Plan is now in its first phase of implementation.

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