SPANISH fisherman are free to catch anchovies again on Monday after the government negotiated a quota exchange with Portugal.

The Environment Ministry had halted anchovy fishing on August 31 this year after it was discovered the annual quota had been met by the Spanish fleet – who operate mostly in Cadiz and Galicia.

But now, after Enviroment Minister Miguel Arias Canate exchanged quotas with Portugal, 650 more tonnes can be fished.

Canate explained that the aim is to ensure annual quotas last the whole season, rather than running out halfway through.

In 2011 Spain was penalised for fishing anchovies beyond its quota.