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Horta ,  August 25, 2020

Regional Government launches new measures to manage fishing effort amounting to 1.2 million Euros

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology presented today two new support schemes for the decommissioning of commercial fishing vessels and less selective fishing gear, namely coastal gillnets and traps, amounting to 1.2 million Euros. The respective application periods run from September 1 to October 15. 

Gui Menezes stated that these two new support schemes, whose ordinances are published in the Official Journal, are “measures intended to manage the fishing effort of the regional fleet,” adding that “they were developed in conjunction with the Azores Fisheries Federation.” 

The Regional Secretary spoke to journalists at a press conference in Horta. On the occasion, he stated that the support scheme for the voluntary reduction of less selective fishing gear, "which focuses on more limited resources located near the coast," namely gillnets, was a measure presented during the last Regional Fisheries Council. 

According to Gui Menezes, the measure is not only aimed at “a better management of coastal resources and a reduction in the fishing effort, but also at an increase in income [for fishers] and a better and more equitable distribution of catches and income.” 

The government official stressed that new licenses have not been granted for gillnet fishing for several years. As he stressed, “the renewal of licenses is subject to criteria related to the effective use of these gears, which has already led to the reduction of the number of licenses over the course of this legislative period." 

Gui Menezes also recalled that, within the scope of coastal resource management, the MONICO monitoring programme was created in conjunction with the University of the Azores. According to him, it “will now scientifically monitor the state of exploitation of coastal resources on various islands of the Region in a more effective and detailed manner." 

Shipowners who want to cease fishing with gillnets are eligible for financial support of up to 20 thousand Euros, while the support for the cessation of fishing with traps may go up to 10 thousand Euros. 

There are currently 61 vessels licensed to operate with gillnets and 42 vessels using traps in the Region. 

Gillnets are used to catch Mediterranean parrotfish, needlefish and mullet, while traps are used to catch octopus and red mullet, lobster, Mediterranean slipper lobster, European spider crab, brown crab and king crab. 

Regarding the support scheme for the permanent cessation of fishing activity, created in 2018, following the Action Plan for the Restructuring of the Fisheries Sector in the Azores, it has now been amended to “adjust some of its criteria in accordance with the dialogue held with the Azores Fisheries Federation.” 

"With this measure, the Regional Government intends, once again, not only to reduce the fishing effort of the regional fleet and to ensure better management of resources, but also to guarantee a better distribution of income among fishing professionals," said the Secretary Regional. 

This support scheme has a budget of 800 thousand Euros, that is, about twice the financing granted in 2019 and which benefited 19 Azorean shipowners, who were able to decommission their vessels. 

It should be noted that the support to be granted directly concerns the fishing activity of the vessel and the target species caught. The maximum limit of support per beneficiary is set at 30 thousand Euros as stipulated by the European Commission regulation for the application of the "de minimis" aid. 

At the press conference, the government official also assessed “the progress” on the aid measures for the fisheries sector that are in force following the Covid-19 pandemic, namely the exemption from fees charged by Lotaçor to producers, fish buyers and canning industry, as well as on the Support Scheme for the Temporary Cessation of Fishing Activity. 

The exemption from auction fees, in force until September, corresponds, so far, to direct support to the sector of more than 1.4 million Euros. In turn, the support scheme for the temporary cessation of fishing activities currently registers 49 beneficiaries, corresponding to the amount of 74 thousand Euros. 

"Overall, the Regional Government has granted support to the sector amounting to 2.1 million Euros since the beginning of the pandemic," stressed Gui Menezes. 

The Regional Secretary also stated that the fishing activity in the Azores "has gained some momentum" and, since July, there has been an increase in the sector's income, compared to the same period of 2019. 

In the months of July and August, 2,100 tonnes of fish were caught, which represent 7.2 million Euros in the first sale, while in the same period of 2019, with two thousand tonnes, the first sale of fish generated 6.7 million Euros.
"Despite the constraints that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause in some markets, we believe that the fishing sector has resumed some normalcy," said the Regional Secretary.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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