The Spanish authorities revealed on May 16 that people will be allowed to go fishing in Spain from Monday, May 18, as part of slightly relaxing the lockdown measures. Fishing charters in Spain are starting their engines with some restrictions, but also with a firm commitment to avoid new COVID 19 infections.
The new order SND/414/2020 was signed Saturday evening as part of slightly relaxing the lockdown measures. Spaniards were already allowed to do outdoor exercise, but fishing and hunting would initially only be allowed in Fase 2, towards the end of May. Due to the natural social distancing these outdoor activities already entail, the Government finally decided to allow fishing and hunting as of Monday 18 May.
Over the last weeks, Spanish fishing organisations have demonstrated to the satisfaction of government that angling can be permitted as a safe, healthy, beneficial outdoor activity.
Cleaning and hygiene measures also apply to sport fishing
Sport fishing is also subject to certain hygiene and social distancing measures. The minimum distance established by the health authorities must be respected. A minimum distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained between fishermen. If this is not possible, the use of masks is mandatory. In addition, each fisherman must use only his own fishing rod and tackle. Fishing equipment, food and drink cannot be shared. After the fishing day, the fishing gear should be cleaned and disinfected.
Captain Oscar from Fishing Charter Luna in Puerto Banus (Marbella, Costa del Sol) offers masks on board. Customers also have hydroalcoholic gel at their disposal and his Oscar’s boat now also features an ozone disinfection machine. These measures show the firm commitment that fishing charters have to reduce the risk of contagion of COVID-19 to a minimum.
Limited capacity for fishing charters
At the moment, fishing charters have to deal with a limited capacity of their boat. Like bars and restaurants, the capacity allowed on fishing charters has been limited to 50%. That is, if the boat is dispatched for for example 8 people, a maximum of 4 people can be on board, including the skipper. This is an important handicap because charter prices are often independent of the number of clients on board. In other words, the same price is paid if a single person goes fishing or seven people.
For this reason, many fishing charters are giving discounts or offering an extra hour to compensate for this inconvenience. As the weeks go by, this capacity limit will be raised and things will go back to (new) normal. Hopefully the numbers of deaths related to Coronavirus and the number of new infections continue to drop at a good pace. Statistics will set the pace for lifting the coronavirus lockdown. We want to avoid by all means having to face another serious wave of new infections.
Let them grow
The professional fishermen have been working during the lockdown, but due to the low demand many of them decided to stay home too. Bars & restaurants were all shut and during the lockdown, the demand of fish only came from the households.
Fishing enthusiasts will be glad to hear that fishing is allowed again. Fish haven’t seen a hook is 60 days and they have been able to spawn without any pressure. We’re confident that the fish will be less wary and a lot of fish will be caught these days. But let’s fish in a responsible way. Take what you need, the fish you are going to eat. But if you already have 2 or 3 fish in the cooler, release the others. Catch & Release the fish and leave some fish for tomorrow. Letting them go, letting them grow.