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Portuguese minister says no need to ban sardine fishing

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Staff Writer | July 18, 2018
Portuguese Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino said that the government believes there is no reason to ban sardine fishing in the country, based on the scientific information available to them.
Paula Vitorino
Seafood   Portuguese Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino
"The government understands, as it did last year, that we are not in a position to do zero fishing. We can set a quota for the catch lower than this year and with management measures for higher stocks," she told reporters in Portimao, South of Portugal, on the sidelines of a welcome ceremony for the ferry that connects the sea between Funchal, Madeira, and the city of Portimao in the Algarve region.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) said in a statement on Friday that sardine fishing should be banned in Portugal and Spain next year due to the reduction in the stocks that has been seen over the past few years.

Ana Paula Vitorino said that the government "is doing a very thorough work on the matter, in order to try to reconcile two objectives -- to maintain the high sardine catch and the sustainability of the species."

She stressed that it is in the balance between capture and sustainability that a decision will have to be made because "sardine is part of the culture of the Portuguese and the economy."

According to the minister, the amount of sardines in the Portuguese sea is higher than last year, although there is a reduction of juveniles, which means a reduction of the species in 2019.

"Although there is a reduction in juveniles, it does not imply a reduction of catches to zero," said the minister, adding that Portugal is working together with Spain and in contact with the European Commission "to demonstrate that there are no socioeconomic reasons that lead to that the indicators of species preservation are as demanding as those pointed out by ICES."