Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), Elena Espinosa said she was most satisfied with the European Commission (EC) and the European Union (EU) presidency support for Spain's claims regarding fishery quotas and total allowable catches (TAC) for 2005.
During the first day of deliberations in Brussels, the EC contemplated Spain's request for special consideration regarding hake and scampi efforts in the Gulf of Cadiz. The original proposal of an 85% hake quota reduction in the Gulf of Biscay was reduced to 9%. Similarly the 2005 anchovy TAC will amount to 30,000 tons instead of the 5,000 previously proposed.
Ms. Espinosa told Diario de Cádiz that the EU presidency and the recently appointed Commissioner of Fisheries Joe Borg, have accepted lifting ban areas in the lower estuaries of Galicia and a few others in Asturias, whereas Portugal's ban in Algarve will continue.
Meanwhile, the Galician Junta Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Councillor Enrique Lopez Vega who is participating in the council meetings told Diario Vasco that the banned areas had been "the most controversial of all issues raised during the negotiation" from the point of view of Spain's interests.
Furthermore Mr. Borg proposed that the monthly active period for vessels fishing hake and scampi would be established in 22 days, instead of the 20 considered a few days ago by the EC.
However Spanish negotiators cautioned that even when "good results have been achieved at the Council of EU Fisheries Ministers", it is still necessary to have the new proposals approved in order to implement them adequately.
Ms. Espinosa added that if concessions obtained in bilateral meetings are reflected in a second document of commitment, Spain will support the proposal, because despite some "specific issues, and beyond larger expectations, all has been achieved compared to the original EC proposal". (FIS/MP).-