By Humphrey Carter

HELPING control and catch jellyfish could provide the Balearic fishing fleets with a lifeline this summer.
The President of the Balearic Federation of Fishing Fleets, Joan Canoves, said yesterday that it has been agreed that a trawler from each of the region's sixteen fishing fleets is going to dedicate itself to helping spot and catch jellyfish during the months of July and August.

Canoves explained that each local fleet has agreed to have one of its trawler on jellyfish patrol duties for six days a week at a rate of 400 euros per day, plus 1 euro 50 cents per kilo of jellyfish caught and each trawler will be manned by two fishermen.

Last year, local fishermen played an important role in monitoring banks of jellyfish and reporting them to the local authorities however this year they are going to be taking a more active role.

According to Canoves, the financial offer put on the table by the Balearic and Spanish ministries for Agriculture and Fisheries is fair and yesterday, the Balearic Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Merce Amer, welcomed the fishing sector's decision.

This week, Amer will be taking part in a series of meetings in Madrid to discuss a stimulus package for the fishing industry in general.
She said yesterday that a more sustainable model needs to be developed to ensure a profitable future of the fishing fleets, especially in the Balearics.

The Minister stressed that operating costs for Balearic fishing fleets are much higher than in most others areas of mainland Spain because of higher fuel and operating costs and Amer would like to see Madrid agree to helping reduce these costs.

But, apart from reducing operating costs, Amer said that the Balearic fishing sector needs a new commercial model - one which will encourage more consumers to buy local fish.

She added that more aid and help needs to be made available so the local fleet can modernise its trawlers and machinery and also practice more sustainable fishing techniques.

She added that a temporary ban on drift net fishing in Balearic waters to enable fish stocks to replenish will be a sensible step forward to guaranteeing a future for the local fishing industry.

The Minister said that relations between the ministries for agriculture and fisheries in Palma and Madrid are good and therefore she is confident that vital aid and support will be forthcoming for the Balearic fishing industry.