Displaying items by tag: corona
Globalisation will remain an indispensable part of the fish industry
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 3 2020.
The coronavirus has largely brought public life to a standstill. Stock markets have plunged into the red, freedom of movement has been severely restricted in some places, and the consequences for the global economy are not foreseeable. One thing is certain, however: the longer the standstill lasts, the more profound will be the disruption in the global fish industry. Familiar market structures could change, raising fears and anxieties about the future for many of those affected.
Croatia steers Presidency of the EU Council despite coronavirus
This article featured in EM 3 2020.
Holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a challenging task at the best of times. Despite being a small country, holding the Presidency for the first time, and facing a Europe-wide health and economic crisis, Croatia intends to make progress on key fisheries and aquaculture issues on its agenda, says Ante Misura, Assistant Minister with responsibility for fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Since the 1st of January, Croatia has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. What are the main priorities for the fisheries sector on the agenda during the 6-month presidency, and are they going to be achieved, given the current Covid-19 crisis?
This is our first Presidency since becoming an EU Member State. It came at a time of many changes, with the new Commission and Parliament on board, and with the UK leaving the EU family. The Presidency often faces unplanned situations, but the Covid-19 crisis is without precedent in recent history. From a practical point of view, meetings at the Council could no longer take place as planned, and it has therefore been difficult to make progress within our 6-month term. In light of the crisis, our priority was to find a way to help the fishery and aquaculture sector to better cope with the consequences of the pandemic. In close cooperation with the Commission and the Parliament, we managed to adopt urgent new measures that will support fishermen, aquaculture farmers and processors. However, our main priorities have remained the same, and are related to two important subjects. First are the negotiations on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the 2021-2027 programming period. We aim to achieve as much progress as possible in inter-institutional negotiations, and have found a way to continue working with the Commission and the Parliament in these challenging times. Our second priority is to make significant progress on the new fisheries control regulation, and we believe we will achieve it by the end of our Presidency. Our goal is to reach a Partial General Approach in June, as planned.
As with other sectors of the global economy, fisheries and aquaculture are also being affected by the spread of COVID-19. Producers, processors, traders, and consumers are both directly and indirectly feeling the impact of the virus, the consequences of which, particularly for populations that depend heavily on seafood for food security and nutrition, can be severe. FAO has therefore released a brief on how COVID-19 is affecting the fisheries and aquaculture sector and suggested measures to support the different players in the supply chain. Production, for instance, may suffer from the imposition of sanitary measures on board that make fishing difficult, crews may not be able to join their vessels due to travel restrictions, and the necessary supplies of bait or ice may not be available. In addition, demand in some countries has fallen as a result of unfounded perceptions about links between COVID-19 and seafood. Aquaculture production is affected by the closure of markets, the shutdown of the HORECA sector, and restrictions on flights and cargo movements. In the processing sector issues with cross border transport, uncertain supply of raw materials, and market restriction are among the challenges companies must face. COVID-19 is also likely to have an impact on fisheries management and policy as stock assessments, fisheries observer programmes, and science and management meetings may all be postponed or cancelled. Measures to support the different elements in the supply chain extend from expanding government purchases of seafood to maintain demand and prevent a slump in prices to extending credit and microfinance facilities to fish farmers to ensuring smooth passage of goods at ports, rail terminals, and at border crossings. The complete brief is available at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca8637en
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.