I was born into a family of fishing professionals, and have learnt at home since childhood about the importance of protecting marine resources. Just as I’ve received that education, which now allows me to develop professionally as the person responsible for a fishing company, I want my children to be able to do it as well, should they want to. To me, therefore, any interpretation of sustainability must take into account the need to preserve marine resources and guarantee the survival of an ancestral activity, which is dignified and necessary for people.
Both from my company, the Fishing Ship-owners Cooperative of the Port of Vigo (Galicia, NW Spain), I always try to contribute to improve sustainability by building on knowledge, research, development and innovation. This, together with our responsible performance and an adequate legislative framework, must be the foundation for sustainable development, above any visceral and simplifying considerations. That is why we promote and permanently carry out research programmes that seek to protect natural resources, without giving up at improving our productive efficiency to keep up providing with necessary food, creating employment and generating wealth.
Producers, administrations and knowledgeable people need to assume the responsibility of guaranteeing the supply of sustainable products, and transmitting that information to consumers with as much rigor and transparency as possible. The consumers, at the time of choosing, want to know whether the products they buy are sustainable. And we, together with the [government] administrations and scientists, need to be able to offer that information as demanded by consumers, safeguarding the sustainability of resources.
I know many stories from my most immediate surroundings that can serve as inspiration, but I’ll mention the daily work of Innovapesca, the Cooperative’s department in charge of designing and implementing the research programmes that seek to reach our sustainability objectives; or the initiative, run by the Fresh Catch Producers Organisation at the Port of Vigo, to establish a new size limitation for megrim and angler fish, stricter that that required by the CFP. More so, this organisation also hands over to charitable social cafeterias the fish they do not commercialise from their quotas.