Friday, 20 March 2020

60% of the fishing fleet will continue to fish despite the drop in prices

This was translated from a Spanish website - the situation is the same for all fishing communities throughout Europe:

"The owners of the port of the capital meet to analyse their situation and make a decision. The fish market will continue to function 'normally'. 
Plants do not understand viruses and neither do the stomach

The influx of buyers to the Almería fish market is falling over the days and prices have also plummeted, thus around 70% for seafood and 50% for fish. In this situation, the development of the activity is going uphill. For this reason, the owners of the capital have met to assess the impact in the sector of the crisis caused by the coronavirus and each one has made their own decision, with the result that 40% of the fleet (trawling in this case, since that the purse seine is in biological stop) the catches will cease, while the corresponding 60% will continue to fish to guarantee the supply of fish.

As José María Gallart, manager of the Association of Fishing Entrepreneurs of Almería ( Asopesca ), explains , ten boats have decided to stop as much due to economic problems, since the price of shellfish is at stake and it is their main species captured by what ceases to be profitable their fishing activity, as toilets, because in these boats it is very difficult to comply with security measures against Covid19. The other 14 ships will continue to fish to supply fish to society. In this way, "activity in the fish market will continue and fish is guaranteed in the market, but it will be necessary to analyze the situation day by day."


Given the moment of uncertainty and the impact generated in fishing due to the pandemic, which has had an impact on tourism and hospitality, causing a turning point in the demand for fresh fish with the consequent drop in prices, the Andalusian Federation of Fisheries Associations ( FAAPE) has sent a letter to the Government, to which the fishing sectors of Valencia and Catalonia have also joined. It calls for a series of measures necessary for the survival of the sector, as well as other activities, such as aid to crew and shipowners, according to the scale of temporary stops of the FEMP (European Maritime Fisheries Fund); the exoneration of the quotas to the Social Security and of the fiscal and tributary obligations while the state of alarm lasts, and the suspension of the deferments of the payments of the debts with the Social Security, Treasury and sanctions while this situation persists.

Call for urgent measures from the EU

The European fishing sector grouped into the Europêche organization and of which the Spanish Fisheries Confederation is part(CEPESCA) has asked the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, to adopt urgent and extraordinary measures to face the socio-economic impact caused by COVID-19. The fisheries sector makes this request after the negative impact that the escalation of measures taken by EU governments to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is having on its activity. Specifically, the sector is already registering a significant reduction in the demand for fish, in addition to a notable drop in prices in certain fish markets with inshore fleets that will inevitably lead to the cessation of fishing activities in some areas. 

In this situation, the fishing sector considers it a priority that the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries of the European Commission communicate, minimisor the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), and that it also adopt the necessary mechanisms that allow the activation of extraordinary measures. According to the fisheries sector, and since the current EMFF does not allow aid for temporary cessation due to a health or epidemic crisis, these measures should include the possibility that fishermen and operators in the EU receive aid and compensation for the temporary cessation of its activity as a result of the pandemic. 

In this sense, the fishing sector has requested the Commissioner to urgently modify Article 33 of the current EMFF and include this possibility in it, given the case of force majeure that this crisis entails. Likewise, asks the Commissioner for authorisation so that the Member States can be flexible when reprogramming the EMFF and that the measures that can be put into practice are mainly financed by the European fund. Additionally, the fishing sector considers it necessary to adopt additional measures and extraordinary actions to compensate for economic losses in those cases in which these sources of financing are not sufficient in the long term or are not foreseen at the national level."