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Portugal's sardines stocks double - raised 2018 quotas called for

sardinesBunchFertile sardines have doubled their numbers in Portuguese coastal areas where fishing has been banned since October last year.
The results of a scientific survey, carried out at sea last December by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) point to 120,000 tonnes of the nation’s second favourite fish swimming happily in the waters between Caminha and Cabo Espichel.
This 110% increase in the fish stocks estimated in December 2016 has been greeted with delight by the Association of Fish Producers' Organisations (ANOP).
The rise in tonnage available was announced at a meeting of the Sardine Monitoring Commission at the Ministry of the Sea, which is maintaining a ban until the end of April.
According to the industry association, the results are "very positive overall" and "meet stock management measures over the last four years," with annual catch reductions.
The association believes that the figures, come April, will be even higher as fishing has been banned since October last year and the nets will not go back in the water until May 2018. In the meantime, fishermen are being paid to stay onshore and stare at the horizon, stoically.
If further growth in sardine numbers is confirmed in April, the association will argue for fishing quotas to be raised for 2018.
At the end of January 2018, the Minister of the Sea warned that sardines would be subject to a Community quota if Portugal and Spain did not strictly manage catch volumes.
Scientific opinion from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), released in October last year, concluded that sardine fishing should be "banned in Portugal and Spain during 2018" due to the sharp stock reductions over the last decade, falling from 106,000 tons in 2006 to 22,000 tons in 2016.
In 2016, ICES recommended a halt to all sardine fishing in Portuguese waters for a minimum of 15 years, in order to return the sardine stock to acceptable levels. It seems the fish have reproduced to acceptable levels without the need for a ban.
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