Victor Vázquez Seijas
Secretario General, Conselleria de Pesca
Marisqueo e Acuiculture, Spain
Source - Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science, Volume 23: 175-184
Galicia is a European region in which the fisheries sector is of greatest importance. Here, fishing acts not only to generate employment, but also to fuel associated industrial activity, particularly in the processing of fish products. Similarly, aquaculture and the exploitation of shellfish stocks have both undergone rapid development in recent years, and are of major importance to the Galician economy and production in these areas is increasing. Statistical data indicate that until recently the number of fisheries jobs, though declining in the rest of Spain and the European Union, was in fact increasing slightly in Galicia. This trend has been reversed over the last few years, with jobs being lost. However, the proportional losses have been smaller than in other sectors, so that unemployment rate in the fisheries sector is considerably lower than the national average.
The fisheries sector employs 4.6% of the active population in Galicia, a much higher percentage than in any other European country. Considering only coastal population nuclei, this figure reaches about 45-50%, and the economy of many towns is almost entirely dependent on fishing.
The Galician fishing fleet is active in Spanish waters, in territorial waters of other countries through fishing agreements and in international waters. The Galician position as regards the exploitation of fisheries resources on the high seas is based upon two fundamental considerations: 1) the need to preserve stocks; the convictions that fisheries policy should be based on resource conservation and as a consequence, that fishing in international waters should be regulated at least as strictly as within the territorial waters of individual Coastal States, 2) the principle of freedom of fishing on the high seas, as recognised in all prevailing conventions.
In accordance with this, the regulation outlined in 1) above should be effected by international organizations representing those countries that, for one reason or other, have interests in the fisheries in question. By contrast, it is considered that regulation by a single country, purported to be "the coast" of the waters in question, is not appropriate.
Language - English
Publisher - Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), Dartmouth, N.S., Canada
Publication Date - October 1998
Publication Type - Journal Article