Mediterranean fisheries are facing a more sustainable future, now that GAP2 scientists, fishermen and policy makers have co-produced the sea’s first ever fishery management plan.
The plan, designed to sustainably manage the deep-sea red shrimp fisheries in Palamós, Spain, was produced by scientists working in the GAP2 project, the Fishermen’s Association of Palamós and the Catalan regional government working together.
Francesc Benaiges, President of the Fishermen’s Association of Palamós explained why the plan is so important:
“This plan, the first of its kind here, will result in more sustainable management of the deep-sea red shrimp, an extremely valuable resource for many of our fishermen. Not only will this be good for the sea, but good for the local community too – not to mention all of us who enjoy shrimp!”
GAP2 scientist Dr Joan B. Company added:
“Perhaps the most important aspect of this plan is that is the product of fishermen, policy-makers and scientists working together, negotiating and cooperating. Because it is the result of collaboration, we hope that it addresses everyone’s needs.”
The plan is the product of over five year’s work; the idea initially conceived during the first phase of the GAP project in 2007. Structured negotiations and discussion have been ongoing since October 2011, when the initial draft was first reviewed by all three organisations involved. After fifteen joint meetings and a lot of talking, the final draft was then submitted to the Spanish Government’s Fishery Ministry on 25th July, where it was received with warm congratulations to those involved for having produced the first plan of its kind in the Mediterranean area.
This success builds upon other previous successes of fishermen and scientists working together in this region, including the unanimous decision of over 60 fishermen to close two red shrimp fisheries for a three month period in January 2012, alongside other collaboration such as fishermen taking scientists out to sea to assess the abundance of stocks, at least twice a month.
The GAP2 project, the Fishermen’s Association of Palamós and the Catalan regional government are now waiting to hear back from the Spanish Government for their final approval, before the plan becomes part of the national legislature, by being published in the Official Spanish Bulletin (Boletin Oficial del Estado Español).