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Horta ,  August 28, 2020

Regional Government proposes European Commission to increase quota for red seabream by 5% and to increase quotas for longfin tuna and bluefin tuna

The Regional Government, through the Regional Secretariats for the Sea, Science and Technology and External Relations, as part of a public consultation process conducted by the European Commission on fishing opportunities for 2021, proposes to increase the fishing possibilities for red seabream (Pagellus bogaraveo) by 5%. 

The proposal mentions the implementation of various management measures, namely the increase in the minimum catch size for red seabream as well as the introduction of a system for managing the catches of this species based on the distribution of fishing opportunities for each island in the archipelago and by vessel. 

The document also notes that the measures implemented and the management model adopted have led to "a significant increase in the average price for this species in recent years, minimising the impact of the reduction in the total allowable catch (TAC) established over the last decade, from 1,136 tonnes in 2010 to 543 tonnes in 2020." 

With regard to demersal and deep-sea species, red seabream accounted for an average of 18% (526 tonnes) of the total catch by weight and 37% (EUR 6.5 million) of the overall value of fish unloaded in the Region between 2015 and 2019. 

Furthermore, the document proposes an increase in the current catch limit for splendid alfonsino (Beryx spp.) by 10%, which "is among the eight most important species caught in the Azores and accounts for about 74% of the total unloadings of demersal and deep-sea species." 

“The Azores have the possibility of managing 85% of the alfonsino quota, which has enabled the Regional Government to adopt several measures towards a better management of catches, leading to higher income level and greater equity in the distribution of fish catches among the vessels that make up the regional fleet,” says the document. 

As regards tuna catches, the Government reiterates the positive discrimination of pole-and-line fishing and the maintenance of the quota stipulated for bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), also defending that maximum catches should not be set for skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). 

It also proposes an increase in the quota established for longfin tuna (Thunnus alalunga) and bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), “ensuring positive discrimination for traditional pole-and-line fishing techniques." 

The document sent to the European Commission defends the maintenance of the TAC for horse mackerel (Trachurus picturatus) in order to "reconcile the biological and socioeconomic aspects" of this fishery.

Moreover, the Regional Government reiterates that the current system for assessment of the fishing fleet capacity “should be more flexible,” adapting the fishing capacity indicators to the reality of different fleets and fisheries. 

The Regional Government believes that the current restriction is “clearly justified” only for fleets using trawl gear, already banned in the Azores, as there is, in fact, a direct relation between the fishing effort and the engine capacity. 

Accordingly, the fleet capacity indicators for the Region should be the number of vessels and the respective tonnage. 

The Regional Government also proposes a ban on the use of steel slings in surface longline fishing gear in the sub-area of the Azores Exclusive Economic Zone "with the aim of mitigating catches of pelagic sharks and other vulnerable species in swordfish fisheries." 

In this regard, the Government recalls that the use of steel slings in pole-and-line fishing using longline gear has already been banned within the territorial sea by virtue of a regional regulation.


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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