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PLOCAN is co-ordinating the DESPESCA Project to acquire scientific and technical know-how about artisanal fishing with traps and large fishing nets by assessing the survival of by-catch after time in nurseries installed at sea.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment’s Biodiversity Foundation is co-operating with DESPESCA through the Pleamar Programme, co-funded by the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The programme also involves the participation of four entities with long experience in fisheries management: the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, the San Cristobal Fishermen’s Co-operative, the Melenara Fishermen’s Co-operative and the Canary Island Government, through the Directorate General of Fishing.

The practical implementation focuses on the north-east coast of the island of Gran Canaria, where both fishermen’s co-operatives fish and where PLOCAN manages a test bed for developing new marine technologies.

The know-how generated in the project will allow the partners to propose improvements in the use of traditional fishing gear, both in its design and how it is used, to the administration. One of the objectives of the project is to publish a manual of best practises for this fishing gear and fishing techniques.

The kick-off meeting of the DESPESCA Project brought together experts from PLOCAN and their director, Octavio Llinás, the head of the Canary Island Government Fisheries Inspection service and one of their experts, fisheries experts from the Gran Canaria Cabildo, the chairpersons of the two co-operatives, three ship owners from the Melenara Co-operative and seven from San Cristobal.

The first co-ordination meeting of all the parties involved in the project was held on the 20th of March to co-ordinate the start of field activities, which will be carried out aboard the fishing vessels involved. The field work will begin in April 2018 and run through to October 2018, with the final conclusions expected by December 2018.