The Regional Directorate of Fisheries informed this Monday to Coopescamadeira (Fishing Cooperative of the Madeira Archipelago), for the closure of fishing for bigeye tuna, from 00:00 on Tuesday, May 30th. It should be noted that the Regional Directorate of Fisheries, in agreement with its Azorean counterpart, asked the DGRM to, together with the European authorities, make efforts to negotiate the exchange of a thousand tonnes of albacore tuna quota, which has not appeared this year in the Madeiran seas, for the same amount of bigeye quota.
The communication follows the notice issued this Monday by the Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM), stating that Portugal has reached the catch quota for this species in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Despite the efforts of the Regional Government, which last week managed to increase the annual quota of bigeye by 264 tons for the two autonomous regions, we had to notify fishermen and shipowners of the closure of the bigeye fishery this year”, explained the secretary Sea and Fisheries, Teófilo Cunha.
The annual quota for bigeye tuna attributed to Portugal is 2,639 thousand tons. For the autonomous regions, 85% of the total is reserved, around 2,243 thousand tons, leaving the remaining 15% (395.97 tons) for the continental fleet.
At the end of last week, with the prospect of exhausting the quota, the Regional Directorate of Fisheries, in agreement with its Azorean counterpart, asked the DGRM, together with the European authorities, to make efforts to negotiate the exchange of one thousand tons of quota of albacore tuna, which has not appeared this year in Madeiran seas, for the same amount as the bigeye quota.
“We still haven’t had a response from our European partners, but we’re not going to give up trying to find solutions that value Madeira’s fishing activity, and provide more and better conditions for fishing”, guaranteed Teófilo Cunha.
Despite the ban on catching bigeye tuna going into effect from zero hours on Tuesday, vessels have another 48 hours – until 00:00 on Thursday, June 1st, to unload at regional ports.