Spanish fishing industry body Cepesca has welcomed the continued remit of Luis Planas at the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) in the new Government of Pedro Sánchez.
‘It is reassuring news given the good dialogue with the minister, his preparation and knowledge of our activitiesy, important factors in the face of the challenges that we will have to face together,’ said Cepesca general secretary Javier Garat.
‘We can assure Luis Planas than we can continue working together, both in Spain and in the EU, to achieve recognition of the important role of fishing companies and fishermen in sustainability, trying to achieve a balance between the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and food security.’
The Cepesca view is that the main challenges facing Luis Planas in continuing to hold the fisheries portfolio should be to promote a modern and sustainable sector, to promote generational change, to push for fishing opportunities for the Spanish fleet, to support decarbonisation and energy transition, and to continue negotiating with other countries to expand international fishing agreements.
According to Javier Garat, all this comes within a National Food Strategy for Spain which serves to develop the supply chain and encourage the consumption of fishery products, for which the minister and the administration ‘should apply itself to ensuring that the Government of Spain commits to food sovereignty and stand up to all those who want to put an end to fishing in Europe.’
‘Cepesca requests Minister Planas to defend in Brussels the need to have a Food Sovereignty Commissioner for the management of the two common policies related to primary production, that is, agriculture and fisheries,’ he said.
‘We have other challenges such as the worrying reduction in consumption of fishing products in Spanish households and the necessary elimination of VAT, and the multiple initiatives of the European Commission that can have serious repercussions on our fishing sector, such as the Plan of Action to restore ecosystems, the review of the closure of the 87 areas to bottom fishing, the reduction of fishing days in the Mediterranean or the approval of the Nature Restoration Law,’ he added.
Cepesca also reminds the minister that the negotiation for the renewal of several fishing agreements of the European Union with third countries is to come, as well as the end of the Brexit transitional period and consequently negotiations with the United Kingdom on access to its waters.