The Spanish fleet operating in UK and Svalbard waters are starting the year with 3455 tonnes less in fishing opportunities that last year. Industry body Cepesca puts the reduction in quotas for hake, megrim, monkfish and cod could result in a loss of €9.36 million this year, in the aftermath of the agreement reached between the UK and the European Union.
According to a detailed analysis carried out by Cepesca, these figures could turn out to be even greater if there are reductions in the currently provisional TACs for some species during future negotiations and Cepesca estimates the industry stands to lose €54 million by the end of the 2026 transitional period.
At that point, the European Commission, on behalf of the Member States, will have to negotiate with the UK annually, for access to both waters and quotas, and the TACs of the 119 shared stocks.
‘Although we initially welcomed the agreement with some relief, taking as a reference the reduction percentages based on the relative stability of catches as provided by the Government, once we translate the political commentary into real figures, we can see that we are facing damage to the industry in the short term, in addition to the uncertainty of what comes from 2026 onwards,’ said Cepesca general secretary Javier Garat.
‘The loss of more than €54 million has an impact on shipowners, crews and shore staff, as well as for the indirect employment generated by the 88 NEAFC vessels and the four cod vessels that fish in Svalbard waters,’ he said.
‘The governments of the EU and the European Commission must rise to the occasion and defend the European fishing industry. It is the only route to generating trust in the institutions and avoid adding to the fishing sector’s Euroscepticism.’