In June Spanish consumers were able to buy the first tins of tuna bearing the AENOR Conform Responsibly Fished Tuna logofrom Spanish distributors shelves. The seal affirms to consumers that the product comes from a sustainable, socially responsible source. The certification logo only goes on products containing tuna fished by vessels certified under the Responsibly Fished Tuna Standard and belonging to a Comprehensive Fishery Improvement Program (FIP). The FIP ensures that vessels and their crews maintain the highest standards in environmental conservation. This certificate guarantees that the fish which distributors are marketing and consumers are eating have been caught by companies and vessels held to social, labor and maritime safety standards above what the law currently requires.
Polskie Stowarzyszenie Przetwórców Ryb (PSPR), the Polish Association of Fish Processors, has expressed concerns with the current Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification process in an open letter from the organization’s president, Jerzy Safader. The origin of PSPR’s grievances with MSC certification occurred in January 2015 when the eastern Baltic cod (the main stack targeted by the Polish fleet) paid EUR 60,000 for MSC certification, only for the certificate to be suspended in December that year. The EUR 60,000 was never paid back, inciting fury amongst many of the processors. Frustration with the lost money and miscommunication between the MSC representatives and Polish fish processors, however, is not the only topic of concern PSPR has raised with MSC certification.
The Polish fish processors also argue the costs of acquiring MSC certification are unfairly placed entirely on processors and that the certification is an ineffectual means of ensuring sustainable fisheries. The PSPR argues MSC certification is not actually voluntary, and it is a barrier to the market if producers do not have the certificate. Most retailers demand processors have MSC certification, yet they play no role in bearing the cost of acquiring the credential. PSPR contends that if MSC certificates are to remain the standard of verifying sustainability throughout Europe then the cost should be shared amongst each participant in the chain of production, not just fish processors. The cost after all is not insignificant. Certification can reduce profitability of a company by as much as 11% thanks to the cost of logo and fees incurred.
Over 730 tonnes of plastic end up in the Mediterranean each day. The level of pollution in the Mediterranean poses a major threat to fisheries and the ecosystems in the region. Home to over 7.5% of known marine species, the continued contamination of these waters could endanger numerous organisms. One organization, however, might have the solution to this plastic crisis in the Mediterranean.
Estonia’s economy has grown 4.5% in the first quarter of 2019 with a new GDP totaling €6.7 billion. The country’s economic growth has been broad based with expansion of the fishing sector among the contributors to the improving economy. The exports of goods, which grew by 9.6% in the first quarter, the fastest pace recoded in the past two years, is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s healthy economy.
Fish processing continues to be a notable industry in Estonia. In 2017 Estonia processed 51876 tones of fish, mainly frozen saltwater fish but also fish fillets in batter, and canned sardines, sardinella, brisling and sprats. Exports totaled €146 million with the largest markets in Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark and Finland. In 2017 approximately 5% of Estonia’s aquaculture production was exported. The species responsible for this exportation were mainly European eel, rainbow trout and European crayfish.
The European Union, Denmark, Norway and other major fishing nations like The United States, China and Russian Federation met in Ottawa on 29-30 May to discuss the prevention of unregulated fishing in the Arctic. The aim of the meeting was to begin preparatory work for enforcing the Agreement to prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean which was ratified earlier in 2018. The agreement is the precautionary approach by ten countries to manage high seas fish stocks in the Central Artic Ocean. The agreement covers approximately 2.8 million square kilometers, an area roughly equal to the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Climate change has brought this issue afront by melting the ice that traditionally covered the high seas of the central Artic Ocean year-round. The melting of this ice makes the region accessible to fishing.
In May 2019, over eight million farmed salmon suffocated in northern Norway as a result of a persistent algae bloom. The estimated economic loss from the 10,000 tonnes of farmed salmon is as much as 620 million Norwegian Kroner (EUR64m). The enormous algae blooms, which occurred due to warm weather, spread rapidly around Norway’s northern coast, sticking to fish’s gills and suffocating them. While wild fish can swim away from the lethal clouds of aquatic organism, farmed fish are trapped at the mercy of the algae. Harmful algae blooms occur when the normally occurring aquatic plants grow out of control due to warm weather. Some are attributing the severity of these algae attacks to climate change.
Expanding international markets for Turkish farmed fish
As one of the services to its member countries, Eurofish International Organisation facilitates the participation of delegations at trade fairs around Europe, hosting them at EUROFISH Business Platform. The Global Seafood Forum and Seafood Expo held in St. Petersburg, Russia on 10-12 July 2019 and organized by Expo Solutions Group together with Roscongress is a good opportunity to bring a delegation of officials and traders from Turkey to Russia to give the participants an possibility both to explore the Russian seafood market and to introduce their products and services.
Meet the delegation from Turkey at EUROFISH Business Platform, Seafood Expo Russia, Stand C-15
Danish-owned BioMar is globally one of the most significant feed producers for the aquaculture industry with 14 feed plants and another two under construction. The factories are located across the globe in the major farmed fish producing nations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and soon also in Australia. The company estimates that roughly 20% of the fish farmed in Europe and South and Central America is raised on its feeds. BioMar recently completed the acquisition of the Chilean feed factory, Alitec Pargua, which had been a joint venture with the salmon producer, AquaChile, with each partner having a 50% interest. BIoMar and AquaChile entered into an acquisition agreement regarding the Alitec Pargua plant following the Chilean company’s acquisition by a local agro-processor last year. The plant represents 10 years of successful collaboration between the two companies, and after the transaction the commercial relationship between BioMar and AquaChile will continue. BioMar announced that the acquisition will increase its flexible production capacity and allow it to meet demand for its high-performance feeds, functional products and services, which it supplies to 80 countries around the world and for 45 species of fish.
A new study claims that the EU will not reach its 2020 goal of sustainably caught fish, as EU ministers continue allowing catches higher than the recommended limits set by scientists. The New Economics Foundation (NEF), an NGO based in the UK, claims that the 2019 TACs for nearly half of EU commercial fish species were set higher than the scientific advice. They found that 55 TAC’s were set above recommended levels equating to approximately 312,000 tonnes in excess catch. The Northeast Atlantic TACs were on average set 16% above scientific advice, an increase of 9% from 2018. Early negotiations for the Baltic Sea and deep sea TACs are currently set higher than expert advice.