The European Commission has opened the door this Wednesday to end the limbo in which the 90 tons of shortfin mako, a species of shark up to 4 meters in length, very widespread in areas such as the North Atlantic, and whose commercialization the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge had prohibited. Specifically, in a written reply to a question from the People’s MEP Francisco José Millán Mon, the commissioner of the branch Virginijus Sinkevičius has proposed “to allow, in certain circumstances, the retention and sale of shortfin mako caught dead and, in parallel, to study methods to avoid areas of high concentration of these sharks or, when this is not possible, to release them without damage”.
This supposes an amendment to the policy reiterated by the fourth vice president and minister of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, who in her first and only meeting with the fishing employer Cepesca reiterated its refusal to allow these catches to be marketed in clear contradiction to the instructions of Agriculture. All of them corresponding to 2020, in addition to adding that the quota in the North Atlantic for this year will be 0 tons.
The popular one frames this new pulse between Ecological Transition and Agriculture within «A long list of misunderstandings» between the two ministers: the wolf hunt, the new PAC (Common Agrarian Policy), the Tajo-Segura transfer, …
The limbo in which these captures were, according to sources in the sector, not only represents a food waste but also economic losses of more than half a million euros for the Galician longline fleet made up of almost 160 vessels, since it represents 10% of their catches. In this sense, the popular Millán Mon, has considered that the reply from Brussels is “an endorsement of the theses of the Galician longline fleet and a disavowal of the ministers Luis Planas Y Teresa Ribera». In his opinion, the option of a total ban on the capture and sale of porbeagle “neither has environmental benefits nor is it the official position of the European Union in international forums such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, in English). ».
Spain, leader in catches
It so happens that the Spanish fleet leads the catches of shortfin mako in the European Union and that, recently, both Spain and Portugal – whose boats also work this fishery – supported the introduction ‘A catch limit at Union level’. In his reply, the European Commissioner for Climate, Oceans and Fisheries assures that both countries also support the position of Brussels in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, in English), which does not go through a total ban like the one promoted by the fourth vice president Teresa Ribera. In this sense, the European Commissioner adds that this type of measure “would not contribute substantially to the conservation of this species, would be contrary to the Union’s common fisheries policy and would harm all the fleets involved.”
In this sense, the popular Milan Món has labeled «Erratic» the policy of Ecological Transition and Agriculture to those who ask to “work together” with the European Commission to “reconcile the protection of porbeagle with the socio-economic sustainability of the Galician longline fleet.”
The European Council decided a few months ago to include the shortfin mako in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), for your greatest protection. This implies a greater bureaucratic burden and increases costs.