New Ministerial Order would prohibit traditional method where nets touch the seabed.

Mayor José Chulvi will be presenting a motion for debate and approval at the next plenary session this Friday 28th August to support the protection of traditional fishing technique known in Valencian as ‘tresmall’ in the face of a Ministry decision to prohibit fishing methods where nets are in contact with the seabed. The ‘Tresmall’ technique is common along this part of the coast and considered to be a skilled method which has a low impact of undersea seagrass meadows and any protected areas.

The motion text opens with the confirmation that the protection of the natural environment in Xàbia is the essential objective of the Council and the axis of local government action over recent years. Improvements have been made in terms of the protection of the marine and terrestrial environment as well as the management of access and movement in particularly sensitive points, especially along the coast.

In this task, the Council has always worked with the agreement and complicity of other responsible administrations, not only with the Valencian Government and neighbouring municipalities, but also with the Spanish Government through the Coastal Services and the ministry responsible for maritime management. The Council has also include civil, scientific and educational associations and groups, as well as the sailors of Xàbia who know the sea better than anyone else and dedicate their daily life to it. The sailors are a group whose importance goes beyond the economic factor and affects the culture, identity and quality of life of Xàbia. Whole families have made it possible for the port of Xàbia to be unique in the Comunidad Valenciana and for the tables in our homes and our hospitality venues to be offered the best products.

Within this line of action, any regulations aimed at making a ore rational, respectful and sustainable use of the natural resources of Xàbia and the Marina Alta is good news. However, this interest cannot jeopardize activities of high economic, social and cultural value, such as our traditional fishing. It is a historical profession with a high capacity for self-regulation and which does not pose a threat to environmental sustainability, especially when compared to other high-impact activities that encourage the regulatory and awareness-raising actions which have been carried out by the Council which wants to continue to carry them out, both on a local level and with the support of the Generalitat Valenciana.

Therefore it is noted with concern that the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge has submitted a ministerial order for hearing and public information which affects the uses of the ZEPA (the special protection for birds) and proposes the modification of spaces of the Red Natura 2000 marina.

Both the consideration of the ZEPA and Red Natura 2000 marina affects the coast of Xàbia. And, given the ministerial order, it has been noted that the suggestions and indications made by the Valencian Government have not been taken into account. In this way, restrictions on the traditional fishing technique known in Valencian as ‘tresmall’ linked to the protection of birdlife and the undersea Posidonia meadows are contemplated which cannot be realised and which, if confirmed, could lead to a serious setback for a sector that is already suffering and stares with a degree of uncertainty into the future.

Thus, the motion from the mayor states that, whilst Xàbia Council is clearly committed to the protection of the natural environment, it is even more so with the survival of the local fishing industry which is essential to the town. In addition, the motion considers these to be easily compatible issues, especially when taken into account the size of the town’s traditional ‘tresmall’ fleet and their commitment to good professional practice.

The motion seeks approval for the Department of the Environment in Xàbia to appeal against the ministerial order in order to guarantee the survival of traditional fishing along our coast, to involve both professional fishermen and associations for the defence and study of the local natural environment in all actions that are initiated and incorporate their claims, to coordinate the Council’s action with that of the Valencian Government and the rest of the affected municipalities so that it is more effective, and to study any figure of legal protection of traditional fishing that prevents disproportionate restrictions on its activity and guarantees dignified survival.

SOURCE: Press Release – The Office of the Mayor