A report from ICES notes that the sardine stock has declined since 2006 and is now under 0.4 tonnes.
The statement, which was widely reported by both international and local media, emphasized that “there should be zero captures in 2019.”
The zero catch may help the increase of adult stocks by 20 percent and would give Sardines a breathing space to recover, according to Algarve Daily.
The statement added that “the number of young fish has been below average since 2005, reaching its worst result in 2017” (less than 5,000 tonnes).
In 2017, ICES urged Portugal and Spain to suspend sardine fishing completely in 2018, according to the Portugal News
The proposal was dismissed by APROPESCA fishing association, which claimed that the proposed fishing ban in 2018 “would lead to the death of the industry.”
“If the ban goes ahead, it will lead to the death of the fishing industry, especially those operating smaller vessels. The minister has no idea of the damage that a ban will cause to countless families,” the chairman of the association said.
Spain and Portugal are among the largest consumers of seafood in Europe, according to a study by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in 2017.
The research listed Spain as the third largest seafood consumer with an average consumption of 42 kilograms per person annually. Portugal led the list with an average consumption of 54 kilograms per person annually.