Helping small-scale fishers promotes Blue Growth
This article featured in EUROFISH Magazine 1 2020
The project Adri.SmArtFish unites Italian and Croatian regions of the northern Adriatic, together with two pre-eminent research centres and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia, in an effort to promote sustainability, innovation and co-creation (the collaborative development of value using customers, suppliers etc.) in small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy-making while preserving marine resources and local traditions and enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale fishermen through cross-border cooperation.
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is launching a university devoted to small-scale fisheries (SSF). The SSF University will offer free workshops and training courses to small-scale fishers and fish workers across the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. Small-scale fishers represent 84 percent of the total regional fishing fleet and 60% of total onboard jobs. Yet despite the important role of SSF in the region, small-scale fishers often fail to be engaged in the decision-making processes. The governments of the region recognized the need to promote their access to financial resources, and facilitate education and training opportunities. To respond to these challenges, the GFCM has teamed up with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Low Impact Fishers of Europe, the European Network of Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture, Petra Patrimonia, and LOQUS, as well as relevant FAO projects and sub regional and country offices, to offer a wide variety of courses on topics such as ecosystem friendly gears, fishing tourism, the legislative basis for SSF governance, starting a fisher association, etc. In 2020, fifteen courses are foreseen to take place in more than 11 countries, targeting representatives of SSF organizations, fishers and fish workers active in the sector.
French retail group Auchan, one of the world’s largest retailers, is introducing a groundbreaking trout, raised on a novel feed by Skretting enriched with algal oil from Veramaris and insect meal from InnovaFeed. For the first time, the entire value chain has come together to create a unique consumer offer, combining farming, feed efficiency, and alternative ingredients. Together, they achieved a significant boost of the nutritional value from the algal oils, while ingeniously replacing the feed fish with insect meal and fish trimmings. It’s the sustainable usage of a previously discarded resource.
The National Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Gdynia along with the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, the Inland Fisheries Institute in Olsztyn, and the Sturgeon Producers Organization in Toruń, held a scientific conference entitled “Innovative and traditional production of fish in Poland” as part of the International Green Week Berlin, an international food, agriculture, and gardening exhibition, popular with consumers and trade visitors but also among representatives of the fisheries and scientific sectors from various EU countries. The large turnout and lively discussions justify the promotion of Polish fish products on the foreign food markets. Creating a positive image of Polish fish products on the German market is particularly important because it is the most important importer of Polish fish products. Two important directions of fish production in Poland were discussed: traditional fishing with its centuries of history, and fish farming in natural conditions, in which the wellbeing of the fish is preserved was one topic, while innovative methods focusing on the use of specialized, modern, and technologically advanced equipment and integrated recirculation systems in fish farming, was the other.
Malta’s International Ocean Institute holds its fi fteenth course on ocean
The Croatian fish processing industry has been facing a growing lack of skilled labour for its production, a problem which escalated in 2019. This has led to changes in business plans for the coming years. The high-intensity production with many workers is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Automation and robotics are mentioned more often within the industry even though, in some sectors like small pelagic fish, there is still high demand for skilled workers, since automation is not an efficient enough substitute.
Of all the fish caught worldwide nearly half are from scientifically monitored stocks and, on average, these stocks are increasing. An international project led by the University of Washington has compiled and analysed data from fisheries around the world and effective management seems to be the main reason why these stocks are at sustainable levels or successfully rebuilding.
“There is a narrative that fish stocks are declining around the world, that fisheries management is failing and we need new solutions — and it’s totally wrong,” said Ray Hilborn, lead author and a professor in the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “Fish stocks are not all declining around the world. They are increasing in many places, and we already know how to solve problems through effective fisheries management.”
Octopus is an important source of income for Senegalese fishermen and women due to its high value on international markets like Europe and Japan. Last year 15,000 clay pots were submerged in Senegalese local waters to form artificial reefs protecting and sheltering octopuses. The artificial breeding beds provided by the clay pots have increased the production of octopus considerably. This generates significant revenues at community level which benefit the local woman making the clay pots, the artisanal fishermen and fisherwomen who have an abundant and high value octopus stock to fish from, and the local fish merchants selling the octopus. The octopus pots not only preserve and restore the ecosystem and increase the octopus biomass but they also support the local artisanal fisheries by maintaining an economically viable activity.
An estimated 33% of the European fishing fleet catches are fished in British waters. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists on Britain “maintaining control of these UK fishing waters” after it leaves the EU, he said in his first meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who took office in December. The two are discussing the negotiations after Brexit, on January 31, with Johnson wanting a trade deal with the EU completed by the end of 2020 without Britain aligning with EU rules. He said the UK wanted “a broad free-trade agreement covering goods and services and co-operation in other areas”. With regards to fishing rights the two sides have committed to negotiating a new framework in place by 1 July although EU spokespersons believe that talks will go deep into the year due to its complexities.
Barcelona based Frime, a specialist in tuna and swordfish, is spending EUR 16 million to construct a new processing facility that will be ready in 2021, quadrupling the company’s current processing capacity of about 10,000 tonnes per year. The family-owned business has expanded its turnover incredibly over the last decade and anticipates this will continue. Demand is strong in Hungary, Poland, the US, Central America, and Asia, Salva Ramon, Frime’s CEO, points out.