Thereopening of the fisheryof thewhite tuna(Thunnus alalunga) has brought more uncertainty than satisfaction to the Canarian fishermen. Although the central government lifted the ban last Thursday after an exchange of quotas with Portugal, in the fisheries sector have not allayed doubts or concerns. The tuna vessels, six days after the reopening, still do not know how much of this species they can capture and fear that theshareachieved by the State is "laughable."
Madrid decreed the definitive closure of the albacore fishery from August 23. Spain had for this year with some 15,000 tons of quota, which are not allocated by fishing grounds, but most of it was consumed by the Cantabrian fleet. Until that date the fishermen of the Archipelago had barely fished about 600 tons, a figure much lower than the 2.397 tons of 2017 (16% of the national quota) or of the 4.958 (33.2%) of 2015.
This situation left theisland fleeton the edge of the abyss, because 80% of the fishing vessels were standing in front of the impossibility of fishing because the white tuna, in its migratory cycle, had been directed until that moment mainly to other latitudes. The threat of bankruptcy was even greater because this circumstance was added to the use of fish concentrating devices in waters of Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde by Spanish and French purse seiners, which prevented the passage of bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna towards the North.
The president of the Regional Federation of Fishermen's Guilds of the Canary Islands,Fernando Gutiérrez, assures that most of the quota that the State negotiated with Portugal was destined to cover the amount of more consumed by the Cantabrian fleet when exceeding 15,000 tons of the national quota, so that only 73 tons would be those that could be fished . Other sources in the sector indicate that this amount is even lower.
In any case, Gutiérrez demands that Madrid negotiate with other countries an exchange of the quota or an advance of the next year. Ideally, he says, it would be about 500 tons to try to compensate, in part, the bad campaign this year. The secretary of the Provincial Federation of Fishermen's Associations of Las Palmas,Francisco Jiménez, he defined this reopening as "bread for today and hunger for tomorrow". And although he does not know the amount of tuna that can be fished, he points out that he was transferred to encourage all the fish. "They told me to tell people to go fishing, to run because this is over at any time," he says.