The situation affects more than twenty boats, most of them from the Girona coast
The Directorate General of Maritime Policy and Sustainable Fisheries has stopped the sonso fishery two months before the expected end date of this year's campaign. The reason: the scarce catch of this species along the Catalan coast. The decision affects more than twenty boats - most of the counties of Girona - and has been taken in agreement with the fishing industry. In fact, a few days ago the special permit for this regulated fishing was withdrawn from three vessels in the census at the "express" request of the moorers themselves as a result of the reduction of catches in a "drastic way", to the point of not having ne none and therefore "make maintenance unsustainable."
The sonso and tongue fishery in Catalonia is subject to a co-management plan that seeks to guarantee their fishing through a system of regulation. The plan establishes a period of closure and a fishing period, which each year runs from March 1 to December 15 (in the case of the sonso) and from December 16 to April 30 (for the reed). The General Directorate of Fisheries renews every year the special fishing permits for vessels included in the specific census of this modality and sets quotas from which decisions will be taken.
Specifically, it states that if it does not reach 75% of the quota, it will be halved the following month and that, if it does not reach this 50%, the fishery will be closed the following month. The shortage of sonso was already noticed last year, they explain from the sector. So much so that on March 1 - just when the fishing season was due to begin - the Sonsera Modality Co-Management Committee (CCMS), also made up of the sector and the scientific community, agreed to extend the closure period. waiting for sampling and detection to guarantee a sufficient presence of this species to be able to start the season "with guarantees".
The closed period was extended to March 29 and, two months after the end of this year's campaign, fishing for this species has been stopped due to lack of catches. In fact, on October 19, management already withdrew the special permit for three of the more than twenty vessels engaged in it due to declining catches. It was the moorings themselves who asked for it.
The Generalitat's resolution states that "once the expected quota has been contrasted with the quota reached during the last 30 days, it has been verified that the success is only 42.5% of the expected quota" and that with analysis of the last 15 days, the success rate reaches only 18.1% compared to the expected share. Figures that do not allow to continue fishing for this species. The manager of the Blanes brotherhood, Xavier Domènech, says, however, that this situation is not new. “We’ve had some really good years, like 2018, but that already happened in 2016,” he explains. The manager of the Blanes brotherhood attributes the situation to multiple factors.
Among them, the storm Gloria but also to climate change. “We have to keep in mind that it is a species that is very close to the coast and is much more exposed to all these factors,” the manager details. Domènech, in fact, admits that possibly these episodes will be more and more recurrent and that it is not only in the hands of the fishing sector to reverse the situation. “Everyone has to do things,” he insists.
From L'Estartit to Badalona
The regulation of the fishing of sonso counts on a census of 23 boats that go from the port of the Estartit to Badalona. Most, however, are concentrated in the counties of Girona with Blanes as the most affected population. There are seven boats here that have this permit and that now will either be engaged in tongue fishing or other minor gear, or they will have to stop their activity directly because they have specialized in this modality.