News Digest n.7 / 2021
FAO GLOBEFISH has launched its “European Price Dashboard”, a new information tool that reports prices of fisheries and aquaculture products in Europe through a user-friendly interface. Prices are automatically gathered from several sources and are updated once a week.
According to the “OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030”, the global production of aquatic products is projected to grow at 1,2% per year over the period 2021-2030, reaching 201 million tonnes by 2030. This increase in production will be driven mainly by aquaculture, which is expected to grow at 2% per year, reaching 103 million tonnes in 2030. Captures will remain dominant, with a modest growth at 3,6% by 2030. Most of the fish production will be destined for human consumption (181 million tonnes in 2030), with Asia being the region with the highest consumption of fish products.
On 9 July, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), adopted the 2030 Strategy for sustainable fishing and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea (GFCM Strategy 2021-2030). FAO’s Director-General QU Dongyu opened the launch event, highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic “hit fisheries and aquaculture activities in the Mediterranean and Black Sea hard” with reductions in production and prices and that for the sector to rebuild “we must ensure that recovery efforts focus on the long-term sustainability and resilience of the sector”. During his speech, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, stressed the need for countries to continue working together for the protection of their seas and oceans.
On 6 July, the European Parliament adopted the regulation establishing the post-2020 European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) under the EU’s 2021-2027 long-term budget with an overwhelming majority. The new EMFAF encourages the Member States to invest in making the fisheries and aquaculture sectors more competitive and in developing a sustainable blue economy. The budget is set at €6,1 billion for the 2021-2027 period, with €5,3 billion allocated to the management of fisheries, aquaculture and fishing fleets: the remaining part will cover measures such as scientific advice, controls and checks, market intelligence, maritime surveillance and security. Moreover, the Member States will have to spend at least 15% of the total amount specifically against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).
On 5 July, the European Commission adopted the proposal to extend the “access to waters” regime under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for another 10 years. This proposal also addresses the changes following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and access to Greek territorial waters following an agreement between Greece and Italy. Under the CFP, all EU fishing vessels have equal access to waters and each Member State can restrict fishing by taking into account the vulnerability of their coastal zones. The current regime applies until 31 December 2022, as indicated in the current CFP regulation.
Shellfish farming is a key component of the EU aquaculture sector: however, its growth has slowed down due to several factors such as global competition, lack of phytoplankton and intense predation by other species. The OpenMode project, launched by Research and Development Concretes S.L. and Prefabricados Formex has created floating connectable modules for intensive shellfish farming in open waters. Currently, four modules are being tested in Spain, Denmark, Croatia and Montenegro. This project is in line with the EU’s goal to improve sustainable aquaculture and is also fully aligned with the EU Climate Strategy.
On 25 June, the European Union along with Canada, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Russia and the United States of America signed an agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean: an important step towards ensuring that any future fishing in that area will be carried out sustainably. At present, there is no commercial fishing taking place in the high seas portion of the Arctic Ocean; however, due to the impacts of climate change, this cannot be excluded in the future. Thus, the agreement was signed in order to address this issue proactively. The agreement will be in force for a period of 16 years (until 2037), which will be automatically extended for another five years unless one of the parties objects.
An investigation carried out by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) within the European Union-funded LIFE program, concluded that the trade in caviar and sturgeon products continues to be plagued by illegal trade in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. 214 cases of poaching were reported in the four countries from 2016 to 2020. The WWF recommended more controls on internal trade and at borders, better cooperation and coordination and the use of state-of-the-art forensic analysis and market surveys. For more information on the caviar market, see the recently updated EUMOFA study available here.