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Galician fishing sector faces skipper shortage crisis

Delays in fishing trips due to the lack of skippers causing 'huge damage' on the value chain, says president of shipowners association.

The fishing sector in Galicia is facing a shortage of skippers that is already noticeable as skippers born during the Baby Boom era, between 1950 and 1970, start to retire, reports El Pais.

According to the national newspaper, fishing vessel Nuevo San Juan stayed docked in Spain as shipowners tried to find a skipper to send it to UK fishing grounds to catch hake and John Dory in the west of the North Sea.

The official skipper of the vessel had to attend personal matters, and shipowners were unable to find a replacement, something that highlighted the shortage of skippers in the north of Spain.

This is not the only example, according to El Pais, other vessels ready to sail have had to stay docked in different ports in Spain due to the lack of skippers, and there have been at least ten delays of several weeks this year in fishing trips on the back of this problem.

“The damage in the value chain is huge, when you decide not to sail it is because you really have exhausted all the options,” said Javier Touza, president of the Cooperative of Fishing Shipowners of the Port of Vigo (Arvi).

Over the past decade, Galicia’s industrial fishing fleet has been reduced by 12 percent, according to figures from the regional government of Galicia, Xunta de Galicia.

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