The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have profound implications, shaping global demand and altering the supply patterns of many industries, not least the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Fish and fish products need to move across borders with no restrictions, while in compliance with the existing measures to protect consumers’ health.
In order to assist the sector, GLOBEFISH will soon start disseminating a periodical newsletter covering past, current and future impacts of the pandemic on fisheries and aquaculture through the contribution of multiple participants in the value chain in different parts of the world.
In this regard, GLOBEFISH would greatly appreciate external input by responding to a short questionnaire.
The information collected will form a key basis for assessment and enable the industry to better access current information. Please note that all answers will be treated confidentially, and data will only be reported at aggregate levels.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is continuously monitoring and sharing information on the COVID-19, particularly possible disruptions in the food supply chain and challenges in terms of logistics. GLOBEFISH is part of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO, responsible for providing up-to-date market and trade information on fish and fish products.
The International Organization for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) and the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the objective of increasing the representation of women invited as speakers to the NASF conference to a level of 40% by 2025. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals include one on gender equality and NASF sees this as a necessary foundation for developing the NASF conference further towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The 40% target covers not only female participation as conference speakers, but also at the event’s seminars. When planning the event NASF will raise awareness among seafood leaders about gender equality and both organisations will widely promote the memorandum.
Anglers made the case at the European Parliament for full recognition of the recreational fisheries sector in the Common Fisheries Policy which, they said, was needed to properly manage public access to fish and to ensure the fair and sustainable management of fish stocks.
Following scientific meetings at a series of “Workshops on Gamete Biology in Aquaculture” in 2014, 2016 and 2018, a new concept called “International Symposium on Reproduction in Aquatic Animals (REPROAQUA 2020)” will be organized on 22-24 October 2020 in Trabzon, Turkey. The theme of the symposium is “Aquatic Genetic Resources: Importance, Threats and Conservation”. This international scientific event, to be held every two years, will be a platform for discussing scientific studies, current developments and problems related to the reproduction of aquatic animals and will also provide an opportunity for academicians, students, and industry representatives to exchange information. The event will avoid parallel sessions, enabling all participants to attend all presentations and follow the ensuing discussions. A poster hall will be available throughout the symposium and the programme will include a reception dinner, a Trabzon city tour, along with an excursion to Sumela (Meryem Ana) Monastery and Uzungöl (Uzun lake). More information is available at: www.ktu.edu.tr/reproaqua2020
Fish farming may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Bill Gates, but the philanthropist has made an investment in Greek aquaculture company Philosofish, Ekathimerini.com reports. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already supported Greek-owned fund Diorasis, which already has invested in Philosofish (formerly Bitsakos Fish Farming) and has also invested in WorldFish, focusing on fish farming in the developing world, so aquaculture is no new thing.
Philosofish is now the second largest Greek seabass and sea bream farming company thanks to the European Commission’s approval last year of rival Andromeda’s acquisition of Selonda and Nireus. The three-way merger could only be sanctioned through the sale of Nireus and Selonda assets to a third party. One of these was Philosofish, which subsequently added 12,000 tonnes to its existing 5,000 tonnes annual capacity in addition to taking over other assets. Sources say that additional funding by a top investment entity may find its way to the Greek company in the near future.
A number of prominent seafood shows and events have been cancelled or postponed due to the spreading fear of the coronavirus. The virus, officially named COVID-19, which emerged in the south east Chinese city of Wuhan was initially thought to have been contained within the country but has since showed a spread to most parts of the world with South Korea, Iran, and Italy hit particularly hard. Diversified Communications announced that the Seafood Expo North America, or the Boston Seafood Show’, taking place in mid-March would be postponed to, hopefully, later in 2020 as health, safety, travel restrictions, and logistics would be a concern. The announcement was followed some days later by another postponing their other show, the world’s biggest seafood event, Seafood Expo Global, to a date to be announced on 18 March (after Eurofish Magazine went to press). The Aquafeed Horizons 2020 conference taking place at the end of March and INFOFISH’s biannual event, World Tuna, at the end of May, both taking place in Bangkok have also been cancelled. The Regional Fisheries Conference ‘Market Opportunities and Challenges’ to be held in Gdynia at the end of March, organised by EUROFISH and the Polish Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation has also been postponed. Hopefully the seafood economy will recover rapidly from these setbacks and make up for lost opportunities as the threat of the virus recedes.
The Spanish Fisheries Confederation, CEPESCA, has requested the Spanish government to ensure the European Union defends its interests, primarily allowing the Spanish fleet to access the UK waters of the UK and, secondly, to maintain reciprocal access to markets. The Spanish fleet catches around 29,000 tonnes in the Northeast Atlantic of which 9 000 tonnes are caught in UK waters primarily hake, megrim and monkfish worth around €27m. Although these catches only account for 1% of total Spanish catches and far from, for example, Sweden’s 60%, they are essential for shipowners from Galicia, Asturia and Cantabria. Currently, the 88 Spanish-flagged vessels that can fish in the UK waters employ 2,150 crew members and generate around 10,750 indirect jobs.
The Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea is a networking event for stakeholders where significant projects for the region can be identified. The event had its first meeting in February, where representatives from the seven member countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine) met in Sofia and discussed issues including marine litter, protection against pollution of marine resources, sustainable shipping and digital connectivity. The activity is supported by organisations like the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Commission for the protection of the Black Sea against pollution, as well as the WWF and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank. The next steps include identifying thematic priorities as well as planning high level events and regional workshops that will be held in the second half of 2020.
The European Parliament held a stakeholder meeting on the current challenges facing the aquaculture sector, with emphasis on production. The speakers included fish farmers representing marine aquaculture in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to pond farming in the Czech Republic, with additional experts from Hungary, Belgium, and Croatia.
Dr. Halasi-Kovács of the NAIK Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Hungary underlined in his presentation, the potential of freshwater aquaculture. Presenting some general trends in the EU, he said, 85% of aquaculture production originates from marine sources while only 12 percent is from freshwater production. Production from pond aquaculture has not grown in the last decade within the EU, although globally freshwater aquaculture production constitutes 60 percent of total farmed fish production, while marine production contributes less than 30 percent.
Luis Planas, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has stated that an alternative will be found for the transportation of Mauritanian fish to Spain. Last year this freight suffered delays and losses due to the blockage of the only road from Mauritania to the north by Sahrawi activists. Mr Planas visited the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott to negotiate with the Mauritanian authorities regarding problems related to the renewal of the Euro-Mauritanian fishing agreement.