When we talk about sustainable fishing, we are referring to a series of practices aimed at keeping the population of marine species at optimal levels to ensure survival, thus respecting the natural environment. In particular, sustainable fishing is based on fishing techniques that do not have a negative impact on other inhabitants of the ecosystem.

Sustainable fishing is essential, as our seas and oceans are threatened by overexploitation and consumption of specimens below the minimum sizes. In this way, FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) provides in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, among many other things, that ‘States and users of living aquatic resources must retain Ecosystems. The right to fish carries with it the obligation to do so responsibly, in such a way as to ensure the effective conservation and management of living aquatic resources’… In this sense, sustainable fishing is all that with its activity cares about keeping the marine population at adequate levels, while respecting the natural environment.

What is sustainable fishing?

Specifically, fishing must meet a number of premises to be considered sustainable:

  • It is managed with the ecosystem in mind, with actions that contemplate the impact of fishing on populations and the ecosystem.
  • It keeps the populations of all species at a healthy level, exercising a controlled activity and preventing the disappearance of the species.
  • It is concerned with helping to protect sensitive species and habitats, ensuring that activity does not have a negative impact on fish species and where all ecosystem populations are closely monitored, protecting areas of reproduction and breeding.
  • It uses selective fishing methods, adapting to the marine environment and thus avoiding accidental catches.
  • Minimizes energy, chemical and waste production in all your operations.
  • It maintains biodiversity.
  • Ensures true traceability from the capture point to the market.
  • It is concerned with complying with current legislation and regulations.
  • In this sense, Spain has a great responsibility, since our fishing fleet is one of the largest in the world. We are a great fish marketer and processor and also consumer. Thus, Spain is one of the largest seafood plaintiffs in the world.

Following the 2013 reform, the EU has powerful legislation in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of European and international fisheries. In this sense, it sets clear objectives and timetables for achieving good status in European fishing grounds, minimising discards or environmental integration.

Luis Planas presents the report on the EU Sustainable Fisheries Agreements and their benefits to the Spanish fleet

On 9 August, the Acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, presented at the Council of Ministers a report on the “Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements: Benefits for the Spanish Fishing Fleet”, which includes the European Union’s network of bilateral fisheries agreements with third countries and their role in maintaining a competitive and sustainable Spanish fleet. These agreements have been made with African and Pacific Ocean countries, of which Spain is the most beneficial Community country, by obtaining the most licences.

Currently, there are 12 Fisheries Collaboration Agreements with protocols in place with developing countries such as Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Cook Islands, Liberia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal and Seychelles that offer fishing opportunities to some 250 Spanish-flagged vessels and approximately 2,500 crew members.

In addition, the fishing taken in the light of these agreements is landed and/or marketed in a high percentage in Spanish ports, generating a network on which other related activities depend and is the main economic engine in large regions Spain.