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«Fishermen have to understand that sustainability means let enough resources for future generations»


Dr. Beatriz MoralesDr. Beatriz Morales, director of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA, UIB-CSIC), will deliver the lecture «From sea to the plate: what do we eat?» in the framework of the lecture series “Fishing in the Balearic Islands: Science and Management”, organized jointly by this university research institute and Diario de Mallorca’s Opinion Club. It will be today Thursday, March 15, at 7pm in the Club House.

What can we bring from sea to the plate?

In the Balearic Islands we consume an average of 18.8 kg. Seafood per person by year, below the average consumption in Spain, which is 27.8 kg. We consume a wide variety of products (fish, cephalopods, crustaceans and mollusks), with over 60 different species consumed fresh. The most importantly is hake, which is the favorite species in Mallorca, where represents about 12 per cent of the fresh market, as in the rest of Spain.

Is the Mediterranean Sea nutritious and healthy?

Of course! Our waters have low contamination levels that might affect local products. Eating fish and other seafood is healthy, because of high levels of omega-3 acids, iodine, zinc, and low caloric content. This is very important for health. Other seafoods that come from areas with high pollution levels, such as skiff, which comes from China and Southwest Asia, are not recommended at all.

Do we know the product we eat?

No. Most consumers do not know the characteristics of the species, do not know how to cook it and do not know how to determine the freshness of the product. The fresh fish consumption is higher among people of a certain age who know the local species and recreational fishing families who are accustomed to eat seafood. The local product labeling is very useful to know where the product comes from, how it has been fished and when.

Can we fish and be sustainable at same time?

Yes, subject to the application of responsible fishing practices. In our case, in the waters of the Balearic Islands, the majority of resources are in a proper state.

How can we keep this balance?

The existing regulations are sufficient, what is required is meet them. Awareness of the fishermen must make them realize that sustainability means resources must remain in proper condition for future generations. Thus, both professionals and recreational fishermen have to develop sustainable and responsible practices.

How much responsibility does the consumer have in relation to the conservation of the marine ecosystem?

The consumer has the power of the fork! There have been changes in consumption in Mallorca of species that before were traditionally appreciated and are now almost not fished. If consumers do not buy certain products and, moreover, influence managers, they have the power in their hands. Recently, the EU has echoed this power and has launched an awareness campaign, which is available on http://escogetupescado.eu

What projects is the IMEDEA currently running about sustainable fisheries?

We have several. One of the most important is based on coastal fisheries, including recreational and artisanal fishing (named CONFLICT) in order to develop management tools with expert knowledge. This study is in collaboration with the General Direction of Fisheries of the Government of the Balearic Islands and funded by the Spanish National Plan for R&D. In another, funded by the Spanish National Parks organism, the IMEDEA will study the spawning grounds of cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish…) in the National Park of Cabrera, in the Balearic Islands too, also in order to provide valid information to management.


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