The new alliance, “Calant Xarxes” will strive to ensure fish caught within Balearic waters and consumed in the region is legal
Ibiza 02/02/2023 – Calant xarxes per un pesca justa (“Casting nets for fair fishing” in Catalan) is the name of a new joint project in which the Balearic foundations Marilles, Mallorca Preservation, IbizaPreservation and Menorca Preservation are cooperating, with the support of the British organistions Conservation Collective, Edmiston and Blue Marine Foundation. Its goal is to find solutions to the problem of illegal fishing and its trade in the Balearic Islands and promote more sustainable fishing practices.
According to Inés Roig, technical coordinator of the project, “Our aim is for Calant Xarxes to serve as a platform to call for measures that prevent poaching and illegal fishing, thereby valuing the work of those fishermen and -women who do comply with the law. We want to promote good practice and put an end to those that harm both the environment and the fishing sector.”
The practice of fishing in the Balearic Islands can be traced back to ancient times, before the Roman empire, while the fishing industry dates back to the Middle Ages, according to Balearic maritime law. “This long history shows the importance of the sector for the economy and society of the region, and it must not be put at risk by allowing illegal practices,” insisted Rebecca Morris, director of Menorca Preservation.
Meanwhile Inma Saranova, director of IbizaPreservation, stressed that it was only a minority who broke the rules: “Calant Xarxes will focus on bad practice in fishing and the sale of illegal catch, but above all give a voice to the vast majority of fishermen and restaurants who do things correctly.”
The director of Mallorca Preservation, Ana Riera, added that by addressing this problem it guarantees the sustainability of the sector: “Everyone knows that as long as there are cases of illegal fishing and fraudulent marketing of fish from the Balearic Islands, we will not have a sustainable fishing industry. Without legality there can be no sustainability.”
According to Jade Brudenell, director of Conservation Collective, illegal fishing poses a risk to the image of the islands. “The bad practices of a few unscrupulous people damage the reputation of both the professional and recreational fishing sector and harm the image of the islands,” she said.
The initiative is taking place within the context of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 14 stipulates that “Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing continues to be one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems as a consequence of its powerful capacity to undermine national and regional efforts aimed at a sustainable management of fishing, as well as initiatives aimed at the conservation of marine biodiversity.”
Aniol Esteban, director of Marilles Foundation, highlighted the fact that the initiative started with the report “Illegal fishing in the Balearic Islands – diagnosis and solutions”, in which it was demonstrated that the problem of fraudulent fishing and sale of fish was present on all the islands using a variety of techniques. “Illegal fishing and the commercialisation of fish have a triple impact: ecological, economic and social. It erodes efforts to promote marine conservation and is a clear example of unfair competition, while also posing a serious health risk. The time has come to stop the impunity and help the local population understand that this is a practice that should not be tolerated,” added Esteban.
For his part, Rory Moore of Blue Marine Foundation emphasised that one of the key objectives of the alliance was “to understand and learn about the most harmful practices on each island.”
Starting with the detection of illegal catches and trade in the Balearics, Calant Xarxes aims to identify and implement the most effective solutions and strategies to end the problem of illegal fishing, ranging from information campaigns to political advocacy demanding greater resources to guarantee control of all types of fishing around the islands.