Spanish industry body Cepesca has made it clear that it intends to fight all the way against the closures of 87 demersal fishing zones in Atlantic waters scheduled to come into force on 9th October.
Cepesca will file for the measure to be annulled, claiming that there has been a failure to conduct required consultations or any analysis of socio-economic effects of such a closure, and that the reports used by the European Commission as a basis for its proposals are flawed – not least in referring solely to the activity footprint of trawlers, without taking into account that of static gear fisheries, which would also be excluded from these areas.
According to Cepesca and EBFA, the report uses a cell of around 15-25 square kilometres, which the two organisations state fails to represent the actual fishing vessel footprint.
They also claim that as Spain had provided the European Commission with the significantly higher resolution data that is used by ICES, there has been a failure to use the ‘best scientific and technical information available’ and the evaluation shows a much higher impact that actually takes place.
In addition, the co-ordinates published also extend to shallower areas outside the intended 400-800 metre zones, and Cepesca and EBFA have described the measures as ‘technical and legal bungling,’ while reiterating their determination to challenge this in court.
Cepesca has voiced its appreciation of support from the General Secretariat of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the representatives of the ministries of the different autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country and Andalusia, all of which can expect to be affected by the closure of these 87 areas.