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Fisheries Policy | 4 October 2017

The Control and Enforcement of Fisheries in Spain
Fisheries Policy
Fisheries Enforcement
Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC)
Wildlife & habitats
Fisheries & Seafood

PDF | 959 kb

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The Control and Enforcement of Fisheries in Spain

This case study assesses Spain’s compliance with EU laws for detecting, prosecuting and sanctioning illegal fishing practices by its vessels and in its waters. It is based on a combination of desk-based research and interviews with key stakeholders.

The key findings and recommendations include:

  • Improve the implementation of the penalty point system. There is strong evidence showing the existence of deficiencies in the enforcement of the system of sanctions in Spain, given the inconsistent manner in which the point system is being applied since it was created in 2013.
  • Increase and improve controls and verification over the engine power of fishing vessels. Discrepancies between the actual engine power of operating fishing vessels and the one officially certified were identified. In addition, the lack of data on infringements for non-compliance with engine power regulations raises concerns on the effectiveness of Spanish authorities’ approach to detect this category of breaches.
  • Increase controls at sea in order to ensure compliance with the landing obligation and discarding rules. While inspections at sea only represented around 19.7% of overall controls carried out from 2013 to 2016, the detection of infringements at sea appears to be highly effective. Spain must increase such type of controls.
  • Improve controls over marketing of fisheries and aquaculture products to ensure further compliance with EU requirements on traceability. Evidence gathered through interviews with stakeholders stressed the lack of sufficient resources and implementation capacity at AA.CC level to carry out more comprehensive controls on traceability across the whole supply chain.
  • Increase transparency and availability of implementation data on fisheries. Publicly available information concerning fisheries inspections, infringements and sanctions is currently limited.
  • Reconsider the effectiveness of the current administrative proceeding to prosecute infringements on IUU fishing.

This report is part of a series of case studies on the control and enforcement of fisheries in Europe, with other case studies including in England, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, France and the Netherlands. A summary report brings together findings from all four countries to make broader recommendations.