Mercedes Salas I
Madrid (EFE).- The impending closures in 87 areas of the Northeast Atlantic will increase scarcity and supply costs, one of the main problems for the fishing industry, a globalized sector that navigates between threats and opportunities.
The fishing industry is facing the consequences of inflation, aggravated by the war in Ukraine and the loss of consumer purchasing power, but with more resilience and export potential than other activities, and this was revealed by companies and analysts at the Conxemar International Fair, in Vigo.
The fair brought together 700 companies, 104 countries, more than 26,000 buyers and served to take the pulse of the state and direction of world fishing.
Problems such as energy expenditure, the echoes of the logistics crisis or the drop in consumption appear in the diagnosis, but undoubtedly the scarcity of the raw material stands out and with it is linked what has been the main problem, politically , Conxemar and recent fishing news: the veto on bottom gear in the North-East Atlantic.
Effects of vetoes
Next Sunday, the European Commission (EC) will ban bottom fishing, at depths of more than 400 meters, in 87 areas of the North-East Atlantic, located in fishing areas such as the Gran Sol, the Gulf of Cadiz or the Bay of Biscay.
The decision provoked the unanimous rejection of the Spanish government, regional and local administrations, the fleet, the unions and the factories themselves.
According to the latest information, the EC has offered the Spanish government clarification on doubts about the real impact on the Spanish fleet of the ban on fishing below 400 meters, and on a court decision whose wording has been criticized for “confusing and contradictory.
La Alianza Europea de Pesca de Fondo (EBFA, por sus siglas en inglés) cifró initially en 10,000 los pescadores afectados en aguas comunitarias y en España 500 buques y más de 2,500 pescadores, pero a fecha de hoy los armadores españoles no pueden evaluar el impacto real.
After yesterday’s announcement by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, on the clarifications from Brussels, it is conceivable that the figures for the fleet concerned will change, as stated on Friday to EFE the president of the EBFA, Iván López.
But López acknowledged that the closures would reduce the supply of species such as sea bream (bottom) or prawns, precisely as the Christmas campaign approaches, an important time for the turnover of the fishing sector: “With decisions like this, more fish will come from other origins to the EU, which is deficient”.
In 2021, Spain imported 1.8 million tonnes of fish and shellfish, 5% more than the previous year, for 7,483 million euros, 16% more than in 2020; on the contrary, it exported 1.2 million tonnes, worth 4,700 million euros, ie 20% more than the previous year.
Impact of war
The war underpinned the “heavy dependence” of the highly globalized fishing sector and the scarcity of inputs, with a greater impact on the EU and on food security in Africa and less on the United States, while America Latin America started from a different inflationary situation, according to the president of the European Association of Fisheries Economists, Leyre Goti.
He also alluded to the docking of fleets due to the cost of diesel or the increased cost of feed or oxygen used by fish farms.
The fall of the euro against the dollar also adds to the difficulties, as does the generational change.
Goti advocates seeing the current situation as an “opportunity” to gain in efficiency and innovation, even if companies have to react, and the professor of applied economics at the University of La Coruña, Fernando González Laxe, thinks in the same way meaning.
“Fish production is expected to increase from 178.8 million tonnes to 201 million tonnes in 2030, or 1.2% per year, representing slower growth than the past decade, driven by aquaculture,” according to Laxe, who highlighted the contribution of the sector and its 58 million workers worldwide to employment, trade and economic development.
González Laxe predicted good future prospects for the sector if it revises its strategies, but “it is mandatory” to maintain fishing communities and improve sustainability. EFE
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