Positive news for Spain, after intense negotiations between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Portuguese delegation an agreement was reached. This agreement enabled Spain to immediately dispose of an extra 3000 tonnes of horse mackerel from ICES zone 9a. This zone comprises the south of Galicia, the Gulf of Cadiz and the west of Portugal.
Beneficiaries of this deal are the local coastal fleets that include fleets from the Bay of Biscay and Northwest area, and the Gulf of Cardiz.
The Executive Committee of the Baltic Sea Advisory Council met on 6 November to discuss cod and herring management and a wide variety of administrative issues. Earlier that day, at an Extraordinary General Assembly, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, chief executive officer of the Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation, was elected the Executive Committee’s new chairperson.
In response to the EU Council’s decisions regarding western cod, namely, to increase the TAC by 70% compared to 2018, which is within the range recommended by the BSAC, to lift the summer closure, and to set a bag limit at seven specimens, a number of concerns were raised by attendees. The impact of seasonal closures was debated with some voices saying they protect spawning stocks, while others felt they did not contribute substantially to sustainable exploitation. The eastern Baltic stock is not doing well and ways to assess it better will be discussed by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) at a meeting in February 2019. Decisions by the EU Council to reduce the TAC by 15% and at the same time restrict the closed period to one month for vessels above 12 m were met with dismay. Some fishermens representatives felt that the stock cannot be improved by solely reducing the fishing pressure as there are environmental factors which have a negative impact on the stock. Others felt that the eastern cod should be managed by other means than solely a TAC decrease and that the decision to lift the closures was not right.
A point was raised about the lack of impact the BSAC advice seemed to have on work by the Commission and the European Parliament, and that explanations were rarely forthcoming when these institutions chose not to follow the advice tendered by the BSAC. The speaker felt that If the BSAC could not show the effect of its work to its member organisations then perhaps its raison d’etre should be called into question. The time spent on procedural issues was also decried, but it was pointed out that steps to change this had already been taken with a decision by the general assembly to focus on substantive issues.
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and Mr Kim Young-Choon, Minister for Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea have agreed to collaborate closely to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The new alliance, in line with the objectives of the EU’s Ocean Governance strategy will;
- exchange information about suspected IUU-activities
- enhance global traceability of fishery products threatened by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, through a risk-based, electronic catch documentation and certification system
- join forces in supporting developing states in the fight against IUU fishing and the promotion of sustainable fishing through education and training
- strengthen cooperation in international fora, including regional fisheries management organisations.
On October 18, Spanish authorities with the help of EUROPOL, announced the arrest of nearly 80 men involved in an extensive operation of illegal bluefin tuna trading.
Authorities investigated and uncovered this large illegal network, which involved multiple fishing companies and distributors including one of Europe’s biggest seafood farming companies, the Spanish Ricardo Fuentes and Sons Group. The illegal catches were fished in Italy and Malta and entered the EU principally through Malta. Malta traded for twice the amount of illegal tuna than legal tuna for an annual profit of €12 5 million.
Although the European Union (EU) has taken measures to reduce these sorts of activities, this operation has uncovered the extent of illegal fishing in EU waters. According to Samantha Burgess who is the Head of Marine Policy at WWF European Policy Office, this level of illegal fishing and trading contradicts the leadership role of the EU on combatting the global fight against illegal fishing. She believes that member states need to take more responsibility when it comes to preventing illegal fishing and more needs to improve traceability, if Europe wants to achieve a legal seafood market and sustainable fisheries governance. Last year, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing was the 6th most valuable crime globally.
On October the 24th, the commission outlined a proposal on the fishing opportunities in the Black Sea. It focused on the commercially most important species, sprat and turbot with Romania and Bulgaria sharing the catch limit and quotas.
The proposals include for turbot, a catch limit of 114 tonnes, that will be distributed equally between Bulgaria and Romania. There was also a recommendation to limit turbot fishing to 180 days per year and a complete ban over a two month period (April 15th to June 15th). The measures aim to increase the population of this Black Sea icon.
For sprat the commission suggests maintaining the catch limit of 11 475 tonnes of that Romania will receive 30% and Bulgaria the larger 70% share.
The Commission’s recommendations comes from a roll over from 2018 and advice giving from the Scientific Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). It follows the multiannual management plan for turbot fisheries in the Black Sea, approved in 2017 by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).
Member States will examine the proposals outlined by the Commission when they meet at the December Council on Agriculture and Fisheries (December 17-18).
For the first time ever, Latvia was present with a booth at the Busan International Seafood & Fisheries Expo 2018.
Busan is the second largest city in the Republic of Korea and annually holds this expo. The expo is one of the leading professional fisheries fairs in Asia. 1075 booths, including 25 national stands representing all continents participated in this year’s event.
The Latvian national stand was organized by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and received support from the Embassy of Latvia in the Republic of Korea. During this event three companies displayed their products, PERUZA a manufacturer of seafood processing equipment, together with BANGA and FROZEN FOOD (the Amberfish brand) that are both fish processing companies.
During the month of October, Norwegian aquaculture companies exported 104 000 tonnes of salmon with a worth of 6 5 billion NOK (€680 million). Compared to the previous October, there has been a volume increase of 8 % and a value increase of 15 % or 827 million NOK. There were a number of reasons for this record-breaking October according to seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl, Sales in September were somewhat poor, but have been improving sharply, off the back of two countries Poland and the Netherlands recording volume growth of 43% and 29% respectively. This data gives an indication of a positive consumer trend in other markets, like Germany.
Latest total predictions indicate that Norway is well on its way to sell over million tonnes of salmon this year, currently 862 000 tonnes have been sold. Salmon wasn’t the only Norwegian export to receive positives values for the month of October. Farmed trout exports increased last month, with sales totaling 4 700 tonnes and worth 293 million NOK, 24% and 21% increase respectively on October 2017. Although it was positive news for Norwegian aquaculture companies during the month of October, a decision to focus on building biomass combined with an outbreak of disease resulted in a low harvest volume for Norway Royal Salmon in the third quarter. As a result profits slumped in the third quarter. However, the company expects to increase harvest volumes by 11% to 40,000 tonnes in 2019.
The International Association of Fish Inspectors (IAFI) has announced that it will fund the attendance of a young fish technologist (under 30 years of age) to the IAFI World Seafood Congress 2019, which will be held in Penang, Malaysia on 9-11 September 2019. The funding, known as the 2019 Peter Howgate Award, will cover travel, accommodation and the Congress fee.
The IAFI Peter Howgate Award is a tribute to Peter Howgate's work and career, and a recognition of his immense contribution to the field of fish technology and the people who work in it, both during his 35 years at the UK’s Torry Research Station, UK, and thereafter.
The International Association of Fish Inspectors was established in 1999 to serve the world fish inspection community. IAFI exists to promote the exchange of ideas and information, foster interaction, understanding and professional collaboration among individuals, organisations, and governments, disseminate knowledge about seafood and associated products inspection, and promote advancement of the state-of-the-art fish inspection and fish quality and safety research and education. More information is available at http://www.iafi.net.
Two Danish companies, A/S Dybvad Stål Industri and Erlinord A/S, have merged to form a leader in plate freezing technology. Erlinord had been Dybvad’s long term partner for handling solutions when it was acquired by the latter in 2017. The new company, DSI Freezing Solutions A/S, will be based near Frederikshavn in Denmark from where there are market routes throughout Europe. A new name calls for a new look and DSI Freezing Solutions has gone in for a major rebranding exercise that is designed to express and support a common direction across application areas and geography, according to Lars Priess, the CEO. The design is modern, stylistically consistent and sharp reflecting a contemporary and effective manufacturing company, he says.
Plate freezing technology is vital to seafood distribution, because delivering quality products is key to meeting today’s customers’ demands, especially in a growing international market. Through its constituent parts the company has a long history of building high quality plate freezing and handling systems for a number of food products. As it gears up to celebrate a 50-year anniversary in 2019, its strategic focus will be to increase knowledge of specific customer applications and to develop a stronger global footprint.
Israel’s Defence Ministry announced in late October a re-extension of Gaza’s fishing zone, which had been tightened following border hostilities and Palestinian demonstrations of the Great Return March which began in March. "Israel informed the Palestinian side that it has decided to extend the fishing area to nine nautical miles from the centre to the south and six miles from the centre to the north of the strip," said the chairperson of the fishing committee of the enclave Zakareya Bakr in a statement.
The fishing zone had been as wide as 20 nautical miles from shore as agreed in the 1995 Oslo Accords, and 12 nautical miles following the 2002 Berlin Commitments. It has in recent times been “by default” six nautical miles except during frequent restrictions. Earlier in October, the Defence Ministry ordered a tightening to three nautical miles, which severely impacted local fishermen because of the small quantities of fish found so close to shore.
In addition to tightening the fishing zone, other past measures taken because of hostilities have included restrictions on fuel supplies and closures of commercial crossings from Gaza, which also adversely affect fishermen. Gaza-harvested fish is sold locally as well as in other Palestinian areas and in Israel.