Alexandra Cousteau, an Oceana advisor and the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, met yesterday with small-scale fishermen from Colònia de Sant Jordi (Mallorca) to find out about their changes in their activity in the last decades, their future prospects, and their opinion of the marine protected areas. During the meeting, several professionals said that the extension of the Cabrera National Park would be very beneficial for small-scale fishing, and that action must be taken in order to ensure the future of the sector.
“What the small-scale fishermen working in Cabrera told me matches what happens in many other parts of the world. Veterans have been using the same fishing gears for decades, but now obtain smaller catches than before, and they fear that if action is not taken soon, there will be no generational renewal”, says Alexandra Cousteau. “For this reason, I was delighted to meet young people who are already professional fishermen and who believe that with the suitable conservation measures, their work can be more profitable”.
During the conversation, in which Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe also took part, the fishermen expressed their opinion that marine protected areas can be very positive, as they allow greater control over local activities and increase the size and number of fishing populations. Moreover, they said that it is important to bear marine biologists’ recommendations in mind, but they have asked to be taken more into account in the development of these protection measures.
Cousteau, who intended to dive in the Cabrera National Park to support Oceana’s proposal for its enlargement, delayed the dive due to the bad weather.