News Digest n.2 / 2022
The conflict in Ukraine is creating more problems day by day in Spain, with mounting fuel costs and energy prices being affected. Fishermen in Andalucia have started warning that in the following weeks there will be a shortage of fresh fish as a consequence of these high costs. According to Manuel Fernandez, president of the Andalucian Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds, there has been no agreement to stop the fleet in the region, however more and more boats are mooring up because they are unable to make ends meet. In Andalucia there are 1.700 fishing boats with 5.000 seamen working on them: the high price of fuel is making their activity unprofitable; hence their catches are not enough to pay for diesel, wages and social security. On 15 March there will be a meeting between the Spanish National Federation of Fishing Associations, Cepesca and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that will address the rise in fuel prices. Mr. Fernandez added that usually a trawler “consumes 1.200 liters of fuel, which now means spending €1.440 on fuel” and normally fishermen “get around €1.800 from sales” that now will leave them “with just €400 to pay social security and payroll”.
On 11 March, around twenty sea professionals gathered at the Regional Committee for Fisheries and Marine Farming where they met MEP Pierre Karleskind, chairman of the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament. The main concerns that arose during the meeting regarded the rise in fuel prices: in very few days, the price has reached record highs. For this reason, many French fishermen are deciding that it is best to leave their boats docked. Another topic discussed during this meeting regarded also the fishing quotas of species such as sole, which has been reduced up to 36%, raising many concerns among fishermen. MEP Karleskind has underlined that the Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, is working on the “France résilience” plan, in the specific on the chapter dedicated to fishing to help operators.
On 8 March, Italian fishing boats decided to stay in ports the entire week due to a national strike related to high fuel costs that are threatening supplies across the country. Rome’s Centro Agroalimentare stated that there is a “grave concern for the dramatic consequence that won’t just affect consumers”, asking for the government to “act quickly” in order to support the companies in the industry. Energy and fuel costs are surging all over Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Italian fishing companies stated that they are facing both fuel and high energy costs to freeze and conserve fish. They’ve asked the government for financial support but also for less limits to fishing days. The price for fuel has increased up to 90% compared to a year ago according to the fishing branch of Italy’s farmer’s association Coldiretti, Impresapesca. For this reason, fishing companies spend about half of their budget on fuel and are being forced to go out to sea less, harming supplies and favoring imports of fish from abroad.
Each year, 80.000 tonnes of frozen shrimps are imported into France and 290.000 tonnes into Europe. French RAS company, LISAqua, plans to produce 10.000 tonnes of shrimp per year by 2030 in France and Europe. LISAqua has raised €2.6 million worth of capital thanks also to the support of other private investors. After three years of research and development, this new round of funding will allow the company to finalise the construction of the first shrimp farm in France. This 2000 m2 facility, located near Nantes, will produce 10 tonnes of shrimp per year from Spring 2022 in order to serve local fishmongers.
The annual Aquaculture Europe event, organised by the European Aquaculture Society, will take place in Rimini, Italy, from 27 to 30 September 2022. Several special sessions and workshops are being planned and one of these is the FAO Special Day, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, on 28 September. The Special Day will focus on “International Processes and their Implications to the European Aquaculture Industry”. EUMOFA will also participate in Aquaculture Europe with its own workshop: stay tuned for more information.
In May 2021, the European Commission published its new strategy for sustainable aquaculture in Europe. The Farm to Fork strategy has recognised the role that sustainable aquaculture has to play in building sustainable food systems. This strategy will pave the way for the European Union aquaculture sector to grow into a competitive and resilient one and become a global reference for sustainability by 2030. An insightful and practical brochure on aquaculture and this strategy is now available in all EU languages.
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and OceanCare have signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim to work together towards the protection of the marine environment against pollution, in particular underwater noise pollution, the improvement of fisheries governance and the mitigation of negative effects of climate change along with the expansion of non-indigenous-species. In the framework of the GFCM 2030 Strategy and the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and its members will benefit from OceanCare’s expertise related to protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable marine ecosystems. This collaboration will encourage the collection and analysis of data to produce evidence on marine pollution and climate change to support future decision-making for the sustainable management and conservation of marine ecosystems, with OceanCare launching awareness campaigns on the importance of protecting the environment with selected national stakeholders such as fisheries associations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
The European Commission, the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency and a consortium of sustainability consultants and algae organisations launched in February a European algae stakeholder platform, called EU4Algae. Its main goal is to accelerate the development of a European algae industry and promote algae for nutrition and other uses among consumers and businesses in the EU. The platform will be a unique space for collaboration among European algae stakeholders including algae farmers, producers, sellers, consumers, technology developers as well as business-support organisations, investors, academia, NGOs etc. The collaboration platform will be online by the summer 2022.
At the beginning of February, France and the European Union began an investigation on a massive swarm of dead fish that was released by a huge trawler in the Atlantic Ocean, right off the Bay of Biscay. The images were released by a group called “Sea Shepherd”, which showed a blanket of dead blue whiting fish floating on the surface off the southwest coast of France. The group estimated it held around 100.000 dead fish. The European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, announced an inquiry into “national authorities of the fishing area and presumed flag state of the vessel, to get exhaustive information and evidence about the case”. The Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association said in a statement that the fish were “involuntarily released into the sea” because of a tear in the trawler’s net. However, Sea Shepherd questioned whether it was an accident or instead an intentional dump of unwanted catches. The group called for more policing of the seas with the aim of protecting sea life and oceans.