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Greenpeace has released its 2013 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report, which ranks American supermarkets on their sustainable seafood policies.
In previous years only Safeway and Whole Foods have earned the ‘green rating’, but this year Trader Joe’s joins them on the green list.
Greenpeace has also praised Walmart for introducing both fish aggregating device (FAD)-free skipjack and pole-and-line albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the country.
The CATO report gives each supermarket a score of 0-10, based on a variety of factors, including the sale of ‘red list’ seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply, and the establishment of cohesive internal policies.
Wegmans, SUPERVALU and Trader Joe’s have also taken strong stands to protect the delicate Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons of the Bering Sea, home to the billion dollar pollock industry. The report also showcases other key issues facing the seafood industry, such as a need for more transparency at point-of-sale and a growing groundswell of opposition to genetically modified salmon, a product that numerous major retailers have already pledged not to sell.
“It’s hard to believe that brands like Kroger, Publix & BI-LO are continuing to sell tuna that’s sourced using destructive fishing methods, and sell red list species that are struggling for survival,” said Casson Trenor, Greenpeace Senior Markets Campaigner. “This seems so far out of step with consumer preferences, which have encouraged most grocery retailers to offer more sustainable seafood options.”
Something no fisherman ever wants to hear is “man overboard.” Nor does he ever want to find himself in the water fighting for survival after a fall off the boat deck.
From 2000 to 2011, 182 US commercial fishermen died after falling overboard – none were wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). Although wearing a PFD is not yet required by government regulations, they can go a long way to helping prevent more unfortunate losses.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a non-regulatory federal government agency that conducts scientific research on occupational safety, carried out a two-part study in 2008 and 2009 that reveals prevailing perceptions about PFDs from Alaskan fishermen.
Researchers surveyed more than 400 fishermen, including Bering Sea crabbers, Bearing Sea trawlers, longliners off the South Central Gulf of Alaska and drift gillnetters in Bristol Bay. Each of the four groups were asked about their perceptions of the risk of falling overboard, their experience with falls overboard and their attitudes and beliefs about PFDs.
“Based on those findings, our next step was thinking about these fishermen’s’ conceptions about PFDs, realizing that maybe their perceptions were somewhat antiquated,” says Devin Lucas, Epidemiologist with NIOSH who led the study.
The second part of the study involved sending out six modern PFDs of various types and styles to 200 fishermen on the same types of fishing vessels. Each group agreed to wear each PFD for a month on deck while they worked, then fill out evaluations of the products that covered concerns such as how bulky it was, how restricting it was, how it chaffed their skin and how easy it was to clean.
“We found that indeed there were PFDs that each group selected and rated very highly for out-of-water comfort and satisfaction, and they were different by gear type,” says Lucas. “So it means to us that there is not a single type of PFD that will be universally acceptable for all fishermen but that fishermen on different types of fishing vessels have different preferences for PFDs.”
Sixty percent of Bering Sea crabbers reported they believe PFDs help save lives, yet only 50 percent sometimes wear them. The group’s two top rated products were the Mustang and Stearns Inflatable Suspenders, which they said don’t snag on gear and are comfortable to wear.
In the longliner group, 60 percent said they never wear a PFD and reported issues around wearing PFDs close to the gear while on a crowded deck as well as the possibility of a PFD snagging on the longline. The Mustang Inflatable Suspenders were the only choice they preferred.
Close to 75 percent of gillnetters voiced concerns over PFDs snagging or getting entangled in gear. And 55 percent of the group has never worn a PFD. Their top pick was the Regatta raingear with built-in foam flotation, with the Stearns Inflatable Suspenders also listed as a preference.
The study found trawler fishermen have the highest rates and most positive attitudes toward PFD use, which stands to reason because the vessels are typically owned by large companies with corporate safety programs that require their crews to wear PFDs. Although gear entanglement was an issue for the trawler group, 51 percent of them reported that they always wear PFDs. This group also preferred the Mustang and Stearns Inflatable Suspenders, Stearns foam work vest and the Regatta raingear with built-in flotation in the bibs.
Lucas says while immersion suits meet the Coast Guard requirement for having PFDs onboard and stowed on fishing vessels, they don’t help prevent fatal falls overboard. “In the last few years, we’ve seen boat owners and vessel operators in different fleets throughout the state of Alaska adopt vessel requirements for PFD use and in many cases, it has been as a direct result of this project,” he says. “And that’s one of our main recommendations is that every vessel owner or operator develop a PFD policy for their boat and provide PFDs for their crew and mandate their use.”
According to Lucas, the pros and cons of inflatable versus inherently buoyant PFDs should also be weighed when considering options. “An inflatable PFD, which is easier to wear and work in, needs to be checked for punctures and the CO2 cartridge needs to be checked for corrosion to ensure it’s armed and ready to activate when required,” he says. “Whereas a foam PFD will still work if there are small punctures in the foam, so it requires less maintenance, but the downside is it may be less comfortable to work in.” More on the NIOSH PFD study results can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/fishing.
“The captains on our vessels drill regularly for man overboard,” says Lurilla Lee, Vice President of Vessel Safety for Trident Seafoods. “They practice for it. And we require everyone to wear PFDs when they’re working on deck.”
Trident Seafoods trains their employees on safety in a variety of ways. They often use training organizations like the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA), North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owner’s Association (NPFVOA), Fremont Maritime, and also train in-house. Pre-departure safety orientations and safety drills are carried out on all vessels, which safety supervisors observe whenever possible, then everyone critiques the process.
Along with carrying out annual reviews, the company’s vessel captains are also required to send in monthly safety reports that itemize what safety drills they ran.
“We work closely with the vessel crews, captains and mates on all our vessels, and on the factory trawlers, factory managers, superintendents on the floating processors,” says Lee. “We go up to Alaska, visit them out in the field, meet them at offloads, where they’re tendering or offloading their catch or go out on the processing vessels while they’re processing and do safety audits. If we find anything, we do a short report and then follow up to make sure any problems are addressed.”
The company also has the vessels perform pre- and post-season safety quick checks for major items like flares and EPIRBS with batteries that may go out of date. Additionally, Trident provides all workers with task-appropriate personal protective equipment such as head protection, safety vests, footwear, raingear, gloves and eye protection.
Lee says in the past few years, she’s observed a significant change in safety awareness and safety culture. “It hasn’t happened overnight but we can use PFDs, for example. Here at Trident, at first, there was a lot of grousing about wearing them, and now it’s just second nature.”
Alan Davis of American Seafoods says he thinks one of the biggest advances in commercial fishing has been in the variety and availability of PFDs. He says the company has added strobes and man overboard alarms to its PFDs to help speed locating a crewmember should they fall overboard unseen in the dark.
Davis notes a key safety trend change in the catcher processor sector. “Since the 90s, the focus was on accident response, including the use of life rafts, survival suits and EPIRBS. These are all things that would be needed if a vessel sank. “Now we are also focusing on preventing accidents from occurring and minimizing their impact if they do occur,” he says. “For example, in order to reduce splash injuries from chemicals, we have added and use mixing stations that mix and meter chemicals without having to use the traditional method of pouring chemicals from a big bucket into a little bucket and diluting them manually.”
In addition to the company’s standard vessel emergency orientation, its crews regularly receive a broad safety orientation that covers a wide variety of subject matter from anti-harassment to fall protection in Confined Space Entry and Ventilation. The company also works with the NPFVOA and Fremont Maritime to offer crew training on subjects such as damage control, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, rescue swimming and fire fighting.
“Annually we gather the emergency squad from each vessel and send them to one of the local fire schools for a day of hands-on fire-fighting in a simulator using live fire or we bring the instructor to the vessels to do some extra intensive drills onboard prior to departure,” says Davis. “We have found that this not only increases everyone’s vigilance in fire prevention but also helps assure our crew are physically and mentally prepared should a fire occur.”
About eight months ago, Fremont Maritime in Seattle introduced its 4-day stand-alone Advanced Firefighting course, which Director Jon Kjaerulff, says has had a very good reception from the factory fleet and processing ships.
“The course is not required for the fishing industry, but it is if people are going to upgrade their licence or obtain an original mariner licence,” he says. Classes are held at the school’s Fishermen’s Terminal location or onboard client vessels where Fremont also helps clients develop a good fire response plan, supervise them running fire-fighting scenarios and help them evaluate their procedures.
Julie Keim, owner of Compass Courses based in Edmonds, Washington reports the industry’s safety culture has changed so much over the years that the company works hard to ensure they can give crews the latest in safety equipment and training so they can make good decisions in crisis situations. “It’s great to be able to demonstrate ways to be innovative and creative in delivering drills to the crew,” says Keim.
Their Basic Safety Training Course consists of consists of Fire Fighting, Personal Survival, First Aid & CPR, Personal Safety & Social Responsibilities topics. “It takes the Drill Instructor course to a new level of awareness and allows crewmembers to experience things they wouldn’t normally do in their drills, such as fighting live fires and getting out of life rafts,” she says.
AMSEA has trained about 2,000 people per year in their Drill Conductor course. “It helps meet the training requirement for fishing vessels, not just documented vessels,” says Jerry Dzugan, Executive Director, “but it’s also being expanded to include state-numbered vessels beyond three miles, which is a state regulatory process that will be taking place.” Dzugan says there is a big push to train instructors. “Last year, we did five, week-long Marine Safety Instructor Training courses, training people to be instructors of drill conductors in Alaska, Seattle, California and Florida.”
Since the beginning of 2013, AMSEA has been offering ergonomics training to commercial fishermen. The two-hour course provides an overview of body mechanics and the science of how muscles work to lift and move. An EMG meter (much like an EKG monitor) is hooked up to the back, hands and arms of participants. It measures the amount of stresss muscles put out for a given lift or movement so that “when you lean over to pick something up, you can actually hear the muscles contracting and stressing,” says Dzugan.
Generic stretching exercises geared toward commercial fishermen are also included for the main muscle groups. According to Dzugan, about 40 percent of the payouts the Fishermen’s Fund in Alaska gives out are due to muscular skeletal disorders, mostly lower back, shoulders and wrists.”
A collection of photos is also used to demonstrate how some fishermen have made ergonomic changes to their vessels, for instance by creating their own tools with curves in the handle so they don’t have to bend their wrists. Or they’ve made adjustments and modifications to their deck or working gear so that it’s more efficient while helping prevent injuries.
Dzugan says in some cases, fishermen can catch four times more fish as a result of making ergonomic improvements, because they can spend more time with their fishing gear in the water. He also notes that he’s seen young fishermen in their 20s have their fishing careers end due to work-related injuries.
“It’s a problem that both young and old fishermen alike need to pay attention to,” he says. “You can do things the way you’ve always done them and take medication to work through the pain, but if you work in the off season or even during the season to make some small ergonomic changes, you can make your work easier for you.”
Additionally, AMSEA is also providing its ergonomic course to a group of NOAA fisheries researchers who also encounter muscular skeletal difficulties when sorting fish and lifting baskets of fish. “Anybody who works on a fish boat or in a fish plant suffers from a lot of the same problems, a lot of lifting and moving that is sort of unnecessary,” says Dzugan.
AMSEA’s Upright and Watertight course on damage control and fishing vessel stability helps address the fact that 50 percent of all the fatalities in the US commercial fishing industry are a result of stability issues. The 6- to 8-hour course offers instruction on how loading and free surface effect can affect a vessel.
It’s a hands-on course. “We get participants to work in a damage control trailer with a number of flooding problems and show them damage control techniques,” says Dzugan. “Then we have model boats we play with in the water just to show them the different effects of stability and what the roll period means. And we talk about the center of gravity, center of buoyancy, metacenter, GM and righting arm so they can better understand what a change in the roll period of their own vessels can mean.
The Thai Frozen Foods Association advises the use of solid facts to rebut US countervailing duties on frozen-food products, the association's honorary president Panisawon Chamnarnweh said.
The US Commerce Department has announced increases in anti-dumping duties for shrimps imported from China, raised to 5.76 per cent, from India, to 11.32 per cent, from Thailand, to 2.09 per cent, from Vietnam, to 7.05 per cent, from Malaysia to 62.74 per cent.
The Swedish and Danish nephrops fisheries have decided to join hands and enter, as a joint client group, into full assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. If successful, nephrops harvested from the certified fishery will be eligible to carry the distinctive blue MSC ecolabel, which assures consumers and buyers they are traceable to a sustainable source.
A three-month ban will help restore marine species in the area, say officials.
The Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) this week sent for publication a decree that prohibits all fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya, in northwestern Costa Rica, from July 1-Sept. 30.
The ban affects a region where most of the country’s fishermen live, including more than 2,000 artisanal and semi-industrial fishermen, Incopesca Executive President Luis Dobles said.
Incopesca’s board of directors reached the agreement last month, and this week it was submitted for publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta.
Dobles said the measure will help species recover in the gulf during the months of two main spawning periods, particularly for shrimp, sea bass, snapper and other commercially valuable species.
Shrimp trawlers and other semi-industrial vessels will not be able to fish for an additional 15 days. They can start fishing again on Oct. 16.
Incopesca and the Mixed Institute for Social Aid agreed to help artisanal fishermen affected by the measure by providing a mothly subsidy of ₡140,000 ($280) to more than 2,000 people. The aid will be distributed to those with a valid fishing license, plus one crew member per boat.
To ensure compliance with the ban, Incopesca is working with the Coast Guard and other agencies to patrol the area. The Environment Ministry, the Oceans and Water Vice Ministry and Economy Ministry will conduct roadway and supermarket inspections to spot transport trucks, supermarkets, farmers markets and other distribution points that may be selling or transporting fish or shellfish that was illegally obtained during the ban.
Penalties for violating a fishing ban range from ₡2-10 million ($4,000-20,000), and sanctions include revocation of fishing licenses and confiscation of vessels.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has today announced that the Ría de Arosa Galician Cooperative Society has been awarded MSC certification for its artisanal clam and cockle fisheries. The sustainability certificate has been awarded to the cooperative’s grooved carpet shell clam (Venerupis decussata), pullet carpet shell clam (Venerupis corrugata), Manila clam (Venerupis philippinarum) and cockle (Cerastoderma edule) fisheries.
Obtaining the certification is a very important milestone for the cooperative, signifying recognition for a fisheries strategy based on professionalism and respect for marine resources. The clams and cockles caught by the cooperative in the Ría de Arosa are now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel, which assures shoppers and seafood buyers that the seafood is traceable to a sustainable, MSC-certified fishery, and which provides a simple and reliable means of ensuring sustainable seafood choices.
400 members motivated by recognition for the sustainability of their work
The Spanish Ría de Arosa Cooperative, based out of Boiro (Abanqueiro, La Coruña), has more than 400 members, all of whom take part in environmental management tasks to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries. Motivated by recognition for the sustainability of their fishery and management practices , they applied for MSC assessment in 2009, with the support of the American Resources Legacy Fund.
Traditional fishing methods, where group work is important
The cooperative harvests some 20 metric tonnes of seafood per year, working from boats or on the shore. Clam fishing boats are small in size (about 5 m long) and fishers use a long-handled rake known as the vara larga. The teeth of the rake are far apart enough to ensure that no clams below the legal minimum size are caught. Every 45 minutes, supervisors from the cooperative check the harvest and classify the catch by species and size.
When fishing from the shore, fishers work in areas that have previously been marked off, using a type of rake known as the sacho. Under this method, the harvest is checked and classified every 30 minutes. The harvest is graded on the shore, and special attention is paid to minimum sizes. The activity is supervised by the technical team, the president of the cooperative, or a person appointed by either of these, and all specimens under the minimum size are returned to their natural habitat.
The Cooperative has also invested in a clam breeding cage, with the aim of improving fishery conditions.
The harvest is sold from the cooperative’s new facilities, which include a packing shed. This is the principal outlet for catches for both the regional and national markets.
What the Ría de Arosa Cooperative says
Cooperative President Juan Dieste explained how the Rio de Arosa cooperative is a pioneer in the Galician seafood sector, implementing policies that have allowed them to stand out in such a fragmented market, by means of developing new activities and exploiting greater opportunities. "The MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing verifies the sustainability of our model, positioning our production under the umbrella of an ecolabel that represents more than 10% of catches worldwide, and giving Galicia Spain’s first certified clams and cockles."
Low environmental impact
Laura Rodríguez, MSC Spain and Portugal Country Manager, commented, "The Ría de Arosa cooperative is a pioneer among Spanish small-scale fisheries and has come through an extremely exacting process with flying colours. Being able to choose MSC certified Galician seafood is great news for all businesses and individuals looking for sustainable seafood options. We thank all members of the cooperative who joined forces to rise to this challenge."World-recognised exacting standards
MSC certification standards for harvested wild seafood are the most widely-recognised and accepted worldwide. The programme is based on tough scientific standards and independent third-party assessment by internationally-accredited certification bodies. The Ría de Arosa Cooperative was assessed by Bureau Veritas Certification  over a period of one year, in an independent, collaborative and demanding process. The MSC standard is based on three essential principles: the status of fish stocks, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem, and the management system used to supervise the fishery.
The assessment found a healthy stock status and that the fisheries are well managed, with a minimal impact on the marine ecosystem.Media contact
For further information please contact Cátia Meira: email@example.com or on +34637557646.
The European Commission has adopted an Action Plan to address shortcomings in the Latvian fisheries control system.
The Action Plan, adopted on 30 May, has been designed jointly with the Latvian authorities following the Commission's audits of the Latvian fisheries control system. It will help reinforce the control system and aims to ensure that Latvia has set up an effective administrative structure, with appropriate IT systems, and has allocated the resources at its disposal.
It will also seek to ensure that Latvia has improved its catch and effort registration system and undertaken risk-based control activities to implement the Common Fisheries Policy and contribute towards sustainable fisheries.
The Plan consolidates the measures that the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development has started to implement this year. These include the allocation of additional resources to fisheries control and the restructuring of the catch data registration system.
The work on ensuring remote access to the Vessel Monitoring System and to electronic logbook data has already started with the assistance of EU funding. Capacity building of the control system will help compliance with EU law starting at sea and encompassing each fish management stage after the landing in ports.
The Plan will ultimately benefit the fishermen - an improved enforcement of quota uptake monitoring will make fish stocks more abundant and allow fishermen to benefit from a level playing field when accessing fisheries resources.
Action plans are a cooperative instrument to ensure implementation of fisheries control policy. It is deemed to be the most effective method to achieve maximum results in the shortest time period.
MANILA – As China asserts its presence in the West Philippine Sea, Filipino fishermen are actively avoiding Scarborough Shoal in the waters just off Zambales province.
Amid the tension in the western sea board, the Philippines has announced the opening of a new fishing ground in the east — the Benham Rise.
Benham Rise, a 13-million hectare undersea region that has untapped potentially rich mineral and gas deposits, is located off the coast of Aurora province, opposite the disputed waters of South China Sea.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez said more than 60 fish-aggregating devices will be installed at Benham Rise starting May 30.
According to BFAR, the area is rich in marine resources.
“Maraming tuna, merong blue fin tuna, pinakamahal na isda. May galunggong, lapu-lapu, isdang bato,” Perez said.
The government is confident the new fishing ground will not be a subject of a territorial dispute in the future.
“Sinisiguro ko po sa inyo, wala ng aagaw,” Perez said.
But fisherfolk group Pamalakaya said while opening of Benham Rise is a welcome development for fishermen, they have information that a fishing ban will be implemented in 10 fishing grounds.
BFAR said Pamalakaya’s information is untrue, as there is no fishing ban at all in the whole country.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Benham Rise, also known as Benham Plateau, is part of Philippine territory.
It is the Philippines’ first successful validation of a claim in accord with the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda earlier said the area is off-limits to Chinese and Taiwanese fishermen.
“There are no Chinese poachers in Benham Rise. Also there are no reports of Taiwanese fishing activities there,” he said.
“We are the only country that was allowed to fish blue fin tuna. There’s a regional Pacific management body in charge of fishing in the Pacific waters,” he added.
Storm left scores of houses, schools damaged; 1500 shrimp farms washed away; roads inundated; ponds, canals overflowing.
Incessant rainfall for the last three days has caused colossal damage to agriculture inundating vast tracts of low lying areas in Koyra and Paikgachha upazilas of the district.
Several shrimp enclosures have been washed away by flash flood caused by rainwater. Besides, a large number of thatched houses were damaged and roads submerged.
At least 200 houses and 15 educational establishments were damaged in five unions of Koyra upazila as nor’wester swept through the area on Wednesday, reports UNB.
Besides, about 1500 shrimp enclosures in seven unions of Koyra uazila were washed away due to rainfall which also damaged huge standing crops.
MA Mannan, chairman of South Bedkashi union, said 40 houses were totally damaged and 60 others partially damaged in Joronshi and Patakhali villages of his union during the downpour.
Binapani Primary Girls School was damaged by the storm.
Sardar Matiar Rahman, chairman of North Bedkashi union, said 20 houses in Borobari, Kachari Bari and Kathmachar areas were fully damaged while 80 houses were partially damaged in his area.
Huge croplands in Koyra sadar, Maharajpur and Moheshwaripur unions were damaged as storm ripped through the areas. Normal public life in Koyra upazila was paralysed due to the incessant downpour.
People of Koyra no. 4, Gazipara, Harinkhola, Ghatakhali, Pobna, Katkata, Gabbunia, Gatirgheri, Jorongshi, Noyani, Golkhali and several other areas are passing their life in constant fear for the inclement weather.
Mohammad Shamim Hasan, upazila nirbahi officer, said he visited the affected areas and sent a letter for urgent relief to the higher authorities.
Besides, the incessant rain has kept low-income group people in Kapilmuni of Paikgaccha upazila confined to their houses for the last three days.
Roads, schools, fish enclosures and croplands in the area went under water.
Several ponds, water bodies, cannels and marshes have been inundated.
Farmers in the upazila could not harvest their boro paddy due to rain.
A total of 24,000 farmers in the district are counting loss for the damage caused to their crops by the rough weather.
Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension, Khulna, said the farmers could not harvest their sesame, pulses, sunflower, vegetables and watermelons from the field due to the bad weather.
The sesame farmers of Batiaghata upazila suffered huge loss for rain in 2011-12.
This year, the affected upazilas are Terokhada, Dakope, Batiaghata, Dumuria and Paikgachha.
Crops on 6,536 hectares of land worth Tk52.30 crore in five upazilas of the district were damaged this year, sources said.
Agriculture officer of Dakop upazila Nazrul Islam said 50 tonnes of watermelon is produced on one hectare of land in the district but this year only 25 hectares were brought under its cultivation.
Dipankar Mondol, a farmer of West Bazua Bazar, said he cultivated watermelon on his 17 bigha land at a cost of TK1.25 lakh. He sold watermelons worth Tk40,000.
Subrato Mondol, another farmer, said he cultivated the fruit on 22 bighas of land spending Tk 1.60 lakh and yielded watermelons of Tk70,000.
Huge watermelons got rotten in Dakop upazila due to heavy rain.
Being compelled, farmers of the affected areas sold each of the watermelons weighing up to four kgs at Tk1 while those weighing six kgs at Tk 2 in the local markets which usually sell at Tk15/20 per piece in Khulna city.
he 2011-12 West African food crisis led to riots in Senegal and Burkina Faso as well as food insecurity for millions of rural and urban poor across the region. The crisis emerged from a number of factors, including instability in northern Mali, increases in global food prices, and low rainfall in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 growing seasons.
Many countries in the region are now reassessing and expanding domestic agricultural capabilities. At the top of the agenda for Senegal, a democratic republic on track to reach many Millennium Development Goals, is reducing youth unemployment and increasing domestic agricultural capacity.
Youthful Labor Force
Senegal has a population of about 13 million, and the UN estimates it may reach 29 million by 2050. Sixty-three percent of Senegalese are under the age of 24 and 20 percent fall between the ages of 15 and 24 – a similar demographic to that which captured the world’s attention in the Middle East and North Africa during the spring of 2011.
Despite a 3.3 percent annual urbanization rate, driven in part by young people flocking to cities to hawk fruit or electronics on the street, agriculture still occupies about 78 percent of Senegal’s labor force. Well-educated youth from the national university system – one of the strongest on the continent – enter the job market at a pace of about 100,000 graduates a year, according to USAID and the International Youth Foundation, while the formal private sector creates fewer than 30,000 new jobs annually. High government officials have referred to the rising tide of educated and uneducated youth alike as a “time-bomb,” to which the 2011 food and gas price riots was perhaps a preview.
It is in this context that Senegal is discussing initiatives that simultaneously diversify the rural economy, improve food security, and gainfully employ young people. Two of the most promising responses, we argue, are expanding farming in southern Senegal and fish farming in eastern Senegal.
A Casamance Agricultural Boom?
A low-level separatist conflict has simmered in southern Senegal, a region known as the Casamance, since 1983. Ethnically and linguistically distinct and geographically separated from the rest of the country by The Gambia, the Casamance has seen economic stagnation since independence.
Still, the region has incredible agricultural potential, with copious water resources and a semitropical climate. A recent boom in cashew exports to India – facilitated by English speaking Gambians – confirms this potential.
In September several American non-governmental organizations in conjunction with the Senegalese Ministry of Youth began discussions about investing in a widespread agricultural training program for Casamance youth.
The discussions derived from a mandate put forth in the 2006 Senegalese action plan for youth employment. With a population of 1.8 million, it would be feasible to formally train a substantial number of the region’s young people in irrigation, agricultural product transformation, accounting, and English (to limit the influence of middle-men in the India-Casamance exchange).
The initiative is on track to open a center by 2014 and complete an academic and service program with its first cohort of youth by mid-2015. Annual Casamance service days, focused on engaging youth, are planned to follow.
The reasoning stands that by providing economic opportunity to Casamance youth and reasonably priced food to families, two of the major tenants of the conflict seen in the last two years would be diminished.
Fish Farming in the East
Eastern Senegal is characterized by a few things: quintessential sub-Saharan vistas, a surprising slew of large rivers, and high fish prices.
The national dish of Senegal is ceeb bu gen, literally translated as “rice and fish.” Fish accounts for about 60 percent of Senegalese’s protein intake, with artisanal fishing around the major port cities of Dakar and St. Louis accounting for the bulk of consumption. However, transportation to Senegal’s eastern regions is expensive due to high petroleum prices (a co-instigator, along with food prices, of the 2011 riots), which makes the price of fish quite high there.
As a national gastronomic staple and essential protein in an otherwise monotonous diet of grains, Dakar has a vested interest in ensuring eastern Senegal has better access to reasonably priced fish.
Currently a feasibility study is being conducted by the Centre de Recherche Ouest-Africain in conjunction with the national university, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, to explore optimal locations for fish farming hubs.
Farming fish in or around rivers in the east poses an attractive alternative to maritime fishing, as it reduces dependence on a stretch of coast that is already aggressively over-fished by foreign industrial fleets and eliminates much of the petroleum needed in the supply chain at both the fishing and transportation stages. In turn, the magnitude and variability of fish prices would be diminished.
Fish farming is already successful elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, notably in Kenya where it has been linked to improved nutritional outcomes. It is done in Senegal as well, but minimally and in ad-hoc, small- and medium-scale instances that range in sophistication from cages in lakes to tilapia farming in cement-lined beds.
Besides the food security and petroleum reduction benefits, fish farming is a vocation that promises to engage young people across the spectrum of education because of the range of technicalities and scales at which it occurs – there is space for highly technical, industrial-level farming alongside fairly simple, smaller-scale efforts.
The feasibility study currently being conducted is intended to inform high-level decision making in aquaculture efforts already begun, including the proposal of a training center by an American non-governmental organization and several nationally sponsored pilot projects. A major goal of the study is to broaden the purpose of Senegalese fish farming to include improving domestic food security, rather than being solely export-oriented.
Double Bottom Line
Installing agricultural training centers and scaling-up fish farming promises to help Dakar address the twin hazards of disenfranchised youth, unable to find jobs with or without college degrees, and food insecurity. Both pose a threat to healthy democracy, as evidenced by the last West African food crisis.
To be sure, neither agricultural training in the Casamance nor fish farming in the east provide all-encompassing solutions, but they are locally relevant, scalable, and market-oriented responses to systemic issues that face Senegal and many other countries in the Global South. As decision-makers around the world examine similar liabilities, like dependence on petroleum imports and over-fished seas; vulnerabilities, like mass unemployment and food insecurity; and opportunities, like technically educated youth and agricultural- and aquaculture-friendly ecosystems, we hope they take these interventions into consideration.
While the West African food crisis showed the interconnected and formidable nature of Senegal’s dependencies and vulnerabilities, we hope a coming era of targeted and well-informed interventions will demonstrate Senegal’s potential for sustainable agricultural and demographic growth.
Mark Brennan is a post-bachelors Margaret Walsh Fellow from the Johns Hopkins University studying food security, and Kody Emmanuel is a National Security Education Program Boren Fellow from New York University studying youth. Both are studying at the Centre de Recherche Ouest-Africain in Dakar, Senegal, for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Sources: All Africa, Bloomberg, The Brookings Institution, CIA World Factbook, The Economist, Fall (2011), International Youth Foundation, IRIN, Nature, The Star, Thomson-Reuters Foundation, USAID, World Fish Center.
Photo Credit: Soumbedioune fish market in Dakar, courtesy of flickr user Jeff Attaway.
«Στον πάγο» έβαλαν οι βρετανικές Αρχές έναν γιγάντιο κυανόπτερο τόνο, ο οποίος ψαρεύτηκε στο Ντέβον της Νοτιοδυτικής Βρετανίας και επρόκειτο να δημοπρατηθεί.
Ο τόνος ζυγίζει 136 κιλά και η τιμή του θα μπορούσε να αγγίξει και τα 600.000 ευρώ. Καθώς όμως ανήκει στα είδη που κινδυνεύουν με εξαφάνιση και γι' αυτό η αλιεία του απαγορεύεται στη Βρετανία, ο Οργανισμός για τη Θαλάσσια Διαχείριση τον κατέσχεσε έως ότου εξακριβωθούν τα αίτια του θανάτου του.
Οι ψαράδες που τον έβγαλαν στην ακτή υποστηρίζουν ότι σπαρταρούσε όταν τον εντόπισαν. Αρχικά θεώρησαν ότι πρόκειται για κιτρινόπτερο τόνο, ο οποίος δεν είναι επαπειλούμενο είδος και δεν απαγορεύεται η αλιεία του.
Σύμφωνα με τις πρώτες εκτιμήσεις των Αρχών, ο κυανόπτερος τόνος έχασε τον δρόμο του ακολουθώντας κάποιο κοπάδι ψαριών και στη συνέχεια χτυπήθηκε από σκάφος.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are small islands and low-lying coastal countries with varied geography, climate, culture and stage of economic development. However, these countries still share common characteristics which highlight their vulnerability to sustainable development and climate change.
FAO enjoys a long history of partnership with SIDS, providing policy advice, analysis and technical assistance through its unique pool of experts in agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, natural resources management and food security, in its commitment to support resilient livelihoods and enhance food security. Currently, FAO is implementing more than 250 projects in SIDS throughout the world in AIMS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Southern China), Caribbean and Pacific regions.
Emerging Challenges, Food Security & Resilient livelihoods in SIDS
FAO is organizing a global e-consultation with the objective of encouraging dialogue and seeking inputs that will contribute to the preparatory process aimed at addressing the main challenges and opportunities on SIDS. It will invite participation from a wide group of stakeholders from various sectors.
We invite you to submit your contributions in the form of comments, examples, case studies, documents, papers and on-going work related to the major themes below. Please indicate if your feedback is in the context of a specific country, region or if it addresses global issues affecting SIDS.
Theme 1: Major Emerging Challenges
Theme 2: Addressing the challenges: opportunities and constraints
Theme 3: Learning from the past and Priorities for Post-2015 Agenda for SIDS
Join the e-consultation
Send your contribution from May 29 until June 17
New User? Register here: http://www.fao.org/sids/registration-form/en/
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New research has shown that radiation found in tuna contaminated by the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident poses the same threat to consumers as from one dental x-ray.
In 2012 Nicholas Fisher from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University and colleagues reported that they had detected radioactivity in Pacific bluefin tuna swimming off the California coast, caused by the Fukushima disaster.
Now they have conducted follow up research on the possible risks to seafood consumers posed by the levels of radioactivity found in the tuna, and concluded that the likely doses of radioactivity ingested by humans consuming the contaminated fish, even in large quantities, is comparable to, or less than, the radiological dosages associated with other commonly consumed foods, many medical treatments, air travel and other background sources.
The authors also conclude that contamination of Pacific bluefin tuna and other marine animals from Fukushima poses little risk to these animals.
Professor Fisher and colleagues found that the sampled tuna contained elevated levels of radioactive cesium-134 and cesium-137, important components of the radionuclide mix released at Fukushima.
The levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides in marine biota, including Pacific bluefin tuna, were compared with the radiation doses from naturally-occurring radionuclides in the same organisms.
The principal radionuclide found in all samples is polonium (specifically the isotope 210Po), a naturally-occurring isotope that is an alpha-emitter, which causes greater biological damage.
“For American and Japanese seafood consumers, the doses attributable to Fukushima-derived radiation were typically 600 and 40 times lower, respectively, than the dose from polonium,” said Professor Fisher. “In estimating human doses of the Fukushima-derived radioactive cesium in bluefin tuna, we found that heavy seafood consumers – those who ingest 124 kg/year, or 273 lbs., which is five times the US national average – even if they ate nothing but the Cs-contaminated bluefin tuna off California, would receive radiation doses approximately equivalent to that from one dental x-ray and about half that received by the average person over the course of a normal day from a variety of natural and human sources.
The resulting increased incidence of cancers would be expected to be essentially undetectable.”
Outcome of negotiations disappoints US harvesters as new season begins
Call it an uneasy truce rather than a treaty.
Two days of intense negotiations held between government representatives from the United States and Canada in Portland, Oregon in mid-April failed to mollify either nation’s commercial tuna fishermen. The session, which featured representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Coast Guard, State of Oregon, Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and tuna trollers, focused on revising and updating a 1981 treaty between the two nations that allowed cross-border tuna fishing in each other’s territorial waters. The treaty expired in 2011, and in the wake of a good 2012 season boosted by the absence of Canadian vessels in US waters, the US harvester delegates went into the negotiation session trolling for another no fishing regime for Canada this season.
They didn’t get it.
Not this season, anyway.
Wayne Heikkila, executive director of the Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA), said “other factors were involved, including economic and political” in the US government negotiating position.
In the end, the government representatives forged more of a one-year “truce” for 2013, allowing 45 Canadian vessels into US waters and an unlimited number of US boats allowed to ply Canada’s territorial sea. A phase-out of the entire tuna fishing regime would begin in 2014, still with a reduced number of Canadian vessels allowed. The 2013 season for Canadian vessels in US waters would start June 15 and end September 15, rather than the usual October 31.
Under this agreement, catches by Canadian fishermen within the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would count toward future US allocations, dating back to 1981. Those allocations would appear in a separate document and remain in force only as long as the treaty – not the fishing regime – remained in force. An EEZ is a specified section of the ocean where the U.S and other coastal nations have jurisdiction over economic and resource management. The EEZ includes waters three to 200 miles (five to 322 kilometers) offshore (or nine to 200 miles – 14.5 to 322 kilometers – offshore in western Florida and Texas). Coastal states are responsible for inshore waters out to three miles (five kilometers) from the coast (or nine miles, 14.5 kilometers, off the west coast of Florida and off Texas).
The agreement continues access to Canadian ports for unloading, boat work, crew transfers and taking on provisions, and includes South Pacific boats. US officials also agreed to continue working on add-measured vessels and the ability to pick up foreign crews in US ports.
No More Sharing
Tuna fishermen were “quite disappointed in the outcome, and will continue to strive for the elimination of the fishing regime in the near future and beyond,” noted Heikkila, who heads up a non-profit association representing more than 400 family-owned albacore fishing vessels, fishermen and supporting businesses based in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand and British Columbia. The boats fish for wild Pacific albacore tuna from June through October, and in the South Pacific from January through April.
Since 1981, they have competed not only with each other, but with Canadian vessels that plied US waters under the fishing regime set up by the expired treaty. The Oregon Albacore Commission (OAC), WFOA, American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) and the Washington Trollers Association (WTA) called the existing arrangement unfair. A cooperative effort by those groups led to a suspension of the US-Canada reciprocal agreement in 2012. Negotiators decided on no reciprocal fishery, pending additional negotiations toward re-signing the treaty, which meant Canadian fishing vessels couldn’t catch albacore tuna in American waters, and American boats couldn’t venture into Canadian waters.
It enhanced the bottom line for many US trollers.
“Many of us got to fish without a Canadian presence for the first time in our lives,” said Rick Goche, a Coquille, Oregon-based tuna fisherman who also chairs the OAC. “What a difference it made. Without Canadian competition, the US fleet was able to more than make up for the fish the Canadians have historically caught.”
Although final numbers aren’t in, estimates indicate that the American fleet hauled in almost 5,000 tons more tuna than the previous season, even though “fishing in 2012 was not that great,” noted Goche, who trolls for tuna aboard the F/V Peso II.
“More commercial boats delivered fish,” he added. “Most of them, I’m told, were smaller salmon boats that found fish close to the beach, but would not have attempted to compete with the ‘wolf pack’ fishing practices of the Canadian fleet.”
“The fishermen said it was pretty peaceful out there and a lot less crowded without the Canadians around,” Heikkila said. WFOA is immersed in fishery management issues at the state, federal, and international levels, and negotiating the tuna treaty topped their list of initiatives for 2013.
Out With The Old
Heikkila said the old agreement – amended in 2002 and codified by law in 2004 – is too lopsided and requires some modifications to make it fair. Nancy Fitzpatrick, executive director of the OAC, agrees.
The treaty allowed US vessels to fish for albacore tuna in Canadian waters to 12 miles from shore, while allowing 110 Canadian vessels the same privilege in US waters. It also allowed Canadian and US boats to use certain of the other country’s ports to offload fish or take on fuel and supplies.
“For many years, everything was fairly equal,” said Fitzpatrick.
In fact, it worked quite well until the past decade, when changes in weather and water conditions skewed the balance.
Collectively, the US and Canadian fisheries bring in 15,000 to 20,000 metric tons of tuna annually. About 60 percent goes to Asia and Europe, 10 percent to United States canneries, and the remaining 30 percent is sold in US and Canadian markets for domestic consumption.
Fitzpatrick said in seven of the past 10 years, Canada’s boats have drawn 80 percent of their catch from US waters, with an annual albacore tuna harvest of about 12,000 tons. US fishermen take less than 1,000 tons of albacore from Canadian waters each year. The 110 boats allowed more than three decades ago, she added, “were mostly family boats and smaller private boats. Now they’re much larger and have way more capacity, meaning they’re harvesting more fish.”
“Not renewing the treaty was our way of telling the Canadian fishing fleet we have been getting the short end of the stick too long, and we’re not going to do it anymore,” said Heikkila, noting that they need to negotiate some new terms “to keep up with the times.”
He, Fitzpatrick and the tuna fishermen want terms in any renewed pact to even things out in determining long-term reciprocal privileges. Suggested changes have included limiting the number of Canadian boats in US water, limiting harvest tonnage, or stipulating how close Canadian boats can get to American boats while fishing.
Heikkila said they would either like to forge an agreement that doesn’t require frequent renegotiation, or preferably eliminate it completely, phasing out all access to Canada’s tuna fleet. Fishermen say they wanted another year of no encroachment from their northern neighbors to determine whether or not last season “is an anomaly” or a potential long-term boon for the American fleet.
Such suggestions didn’t sit well with their Canadian counterparts during the April negotiating session.
Heikkila said the US Department of State (DOS) in early April put out a proposal that a fishing regime would indeed be negotiated in 2013 for one year, with the number of vessels allowed between 35 and 55. US harvesters opposed the idea “every step of the way” heading into the negotiations.
Season length, catch attribution, port check-ins and check-outs, etiquette, research and other issues were all on the table.
Canadian representatives countered the initial US proposal of 20 to 25 vessels with 75 to 80 vessels – close to the historic treaty level of 110. US fishermen argued that numbers had to be near zero or close to it “if something was to be negotiated.” The fishermen said the US was obligated to reduce numbers to pre-1998 levels, dating back to 1981 for an average.
“When the plenary began, both sides agreed that issues like research and on-grounds behavior would remain outside the regime,” Heikkila said.
They also agreed to freeze the Canadian list, with no more license transfers during the season and no increase in vessel size and US approval required for transfers occurring outside the season. Neither side could agree on number of vessels or season length. Everyone but the government representatives were dismissed. When they all returned, Heikkila said “we were told the Canadians did not like what was agreed to and did not come back.”
US leaders opted against a joint briefing, where the terms forged by the government representatives were spelled out.
Despite the universal dislike, Heikkila said “they did a good job to forge an agreement.” And, as he, Goche and Fitzpatrick point out, it’s only in place for 2013. In a letter to OAC commissioners and albacore fishermen, Goche called it “worse than we hoped for and better than we feared.”
“It is what it is,” he added. “Let’s just hope that fish are abundant and those 45 Canadian boats are virtually invisible to us.”
Goche noted that the “trajectory of future agreements is toward zero” and the objective is to phase out the agreement “on a shorter rather than longer timeline.” Canada’s representatives, he stated, “were also repeatedly put on notice” that the one-year agreement is essentially a “probation” and any problems they cause (“such as happened in the past”) could end the possibility of any phase-out.
“They tried to reassure us that any of their boats in our waters will be on their very best behavior, and they’re just grateful to be fishing here again, no matter how temporary,” Goche pointed out, encouraging US tuna trollers to avoid any negative interactions with Canadian vessels, and to keep a log of any problems that do arise, including date, time, boat name, position and nature of the interaction.
Seal of Approval
One agreement still in place is helping the albacore fishery market its product. Ironically enough, in 2009 the WFOA forged a collaborative funding agreement with the Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation to undergo full assessment by the international Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to earn its blue seal of eco-certification for North American North Pacific albacore tuna. They received it, and it has paid some dividends by helping to open up more market niches worldwide.
“It’s a global market, and the MSC logo is an internationally-recognized symbol of good management and sustainability,” Heikkila said. Adding the MSC eco-label to their tuna products enhanced their already high standard of sustainability and consumer awareness and recognition of those efforts.
The WFOA followed in the wake of its smaller cousin, the AAFA, which – with its 26-vessel membership – became the first tuna fishery in the world to earn the designation in August 2007. “A good fisherman is not necessarily one who catches lots of fish, but one who takes good care of what he catches and protects the resources of the sea,” noted Newport-based tuna fisherman and AAFA member Herb Goblirsch.
Troll-caught one fish at a time, wild Pacific albacore is considered a superior tuna with a mild, rich flavor, and firm flesh. It’s available fresh, frozen, or as canned “white”, “troll-caught”, or “US-caught” albacore. The albacore harvested by Oregon fishermen are younger (three to five years old), weigh from 10 to 30 pounds, and are higher in beneficial omega-3 fish oils than larger, leaner, older albacore snagged in the central Pacific. Because they are young, mercury accumulation is not a concern.
Albacore trollers or jig boats tow 10 to 20 lines of varying lengths from the outriggers and stern, with a lure (jig) attached to the end of each un-weighted line. Boats range from 38 to 100 feet long, and carry crews of two to three fishermen. Catches can range from none to as many as 300 on a good day – and last season’s experiences are proof.
The ebb and flow of the 2012 albacore tuna season, which started slightly later than normal and ended early for many commercial fishermen, was nearly as capricious as the ocean itself. While some were still out fishing – way out – pursuing their elusive quarry 100 to 150 miles offshore late in the season, many called it quits and went into wait-until-next year mode.
Most fishermen called it an average season, but their experiences ran the gamut from good to fair to mercurial.
Markets in 2012 were “softer” than 2011’s record prices, but didn’t drop as far as some fishermen feared, and even strengthened somewhat during the season. Market prices fluctuated, with processors paying as little as $1.10 per pound and as high as $1.35, while fishermen selling fresh tuna off their boats are getting anywhere from $2.50 to $3.50 per pound.
Only about 200,000 pounds is sold directly off the boats each year, say ODFW officials. The remainder goes to processing plants or is exported.
Counting everyone who brings in 50 pounds of tuna or more, Heikkila said the albacore tuna fishery has about 600 to 700 individual boats, but maybe 200 to 300 are “serious tuna fishermen.” The best tuna trolling, he noted, takes place off the Oregon coast from Coos Bay northward to the Columbia River, with some available off Washington’s southern coast.
Most fishermen focus on Oregon waters, including Newport-based Dave Logsden, who chases his quarry 30 to 100 miles out aboard the F/V Grace Elizabeth. “It was a pretty good season – one of the best for me,” said Logsden, who started fishing in 1972 and also pursues salmon, ling cod and halibut. “I sell everything off the boat, and prices were about the same as last year.”
Logsden, who only uses jig, not bait, said his catch fetched $2.75 per pound. Others were going as low as $2.25 or $2.50 and as high as $3. A tight market in 2011 pushed prices about $1 per pound higher than normal, but he said 2012 prices ebbed and flowed, especially at processing plants.
“The season started a bit late and ended early,” Logsden noted. “I usually begin about July 1, but we didn’t have fish here until mid-July – and by mid-September, they were too far offshore for my boat. The warm water and the tuna were gone.”
Other fishermen deemed the season anywhere from good to great, at least while it lasted. After “rocking and rolling” in some places in June with an opening off-the-boat price at $3.50 per pound, a saturated market in July dropped the price to $2.25 before it rebounded to hover at $2.50, although it varied from port to port.
Price these days is generally a function of fishermen talking to buyers first, said Fitzpatrick – getting their fish in a barrel, as it were, before venturing out. Things were really fizzling out as the 2012 season neared its traditional endpoint in early October.
Taylor Frierson from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports a total of 447 vessels making at least one landing of albacore in Oregon ports in 2012 - 1,608 total trip landings to be exact, up from 1,554 landings in 2011.
August was the peak month, with landings of 4.39 million pounds - the most productive August since 1997. Overall commercial landings reached 9.9 million pounds, besting the 2011 total of 9.7 million pounds and the 10-year (2003-2012) average of 9.6 million pounds.
Newport received most of Oregon’s albacore landings with 5.04 million pounds, just under the port record of 5.07 million pounds in 2009. Newport netted $7,696,622 in revenues - a state record for the highest tuna revenues at a single port, easily besting the previous record of $6,942,548 set in Astoria in 2011. Landings at Astoria, meanwhile, were down by 36 percent, reaching just 2.01 million pounds.
Frierson noted speculation about the absence of the Canadian fleet causing the precipitous drop. Pacific City’s dory fleet featured a port record of 20 vessels that landed 37,974 pounds of albacore, surpassing their ten-year average (2002-2011) by 650 percent.
“The West Coast albacore market in 2012 was not quite as strong as the all-time record revenues for 2011, but remained well above average from past years,” noted Frierson.
Ex-vessel revenue stood at $15,089,164 – down 20 percent from the $18,800,634 gleaned in 2011. Average price for 2012 was $1.53 per pound, down from $1.94 in 2011. Average price from 2001 to 2010 was 95 cents per pound.
“This phenomenon of sudden increased values began in 2011 after the tsunami in Japan destroyed their tuna fleet and the largest fish freezer in the world, which contained millions of pounds of albacore,” noted Frierson. “Other world market factors may have also influenced the value spike.”
Albacore deliveries in early July “were rewarded” with a peak of $1.84 per pound average price before the market declined to the season’s lowest average price of $1.41 per pound by the second week of August.
“The slump in price was likely due to the highest volume of landings in the first week of August,” Frierson noted. “Average prices then rose steadily until the end of the season, finishing at up to $2.04 per pound. Many large deliveries of frozen albacore were made within the final two weeks of October, where blast-frozen tuna sold for as high as $2.18 per pound.”
For the season, fresh-iced tuna average prices ranged from $1.25 to $1.50 per pound; brine-frozen tuna averaged $1.35 to $1.55; blast-frozen tuna averaged $1.60 to $1.85; and direct sales of fresh-iced tuna ranged from $2.50 to $3.00 per pound. Blast and brine-frozen tuna sales each accounted for 38 percent of the market, while fresh-iced tuna sales were 24 percent.
Albacore accounted for 13 percent of Oregon’s marine fish revenue in 2012, with the ex-vessel revenue from albacore landings ranked third among all Oregon’s marine fishery landings behind Dungeness crab and pink shrimp.
As for this season, as of press time, Fitzpatrick said she had “no idea” as to what the season might bring. “There’s no way to know yet,” she added.
Catches and market prices, as usual, are sure to fluctuate, and the Canadian influence is back in the mix. Cold water has led to a slow start, and Fitzpatrick and Goche both noted that much can happen to both catch and markets between now and October.
“The markets are a little more fluid than last year,” said Heikkila. “Demand is starting to go up, but it depends on what’s caught elsewhere worldwide.”
Industry expects confirmation of infectious salmon anemia.
A Gray Aqua salmon farm on Newfoundland's south coast is under quarantine as officials test for infection.
The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association confirmed on Monday that infectious salmon anemia is suspected at the farm in Hermitage Bay.
If confirmed, it would be the third outbreak in Newfoundland in less than a year.
Cyr Couturier, the association's executive director, said it's preparing for a cull of up to a half a million fish.
"We do presume that it is going to come back positive, and so efforts are being made to see what we can do in terms of de-population. So as soon at that cull is ordered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, then we will be ready to go," he said.
Couturier said the industry expects a decision later this week.
Industry facing challenges
Couturier said the south coast is the hub of the province's salmon farming, which has produced hundreds of jobs and revived about a dozen communities.
"It's been growing for the last 30 years, and in the last decade, really, we've grown to an industry that is worth almost $200 million to the rural economy of Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.
But the industry does face some new challenges.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans recently confirmed that some salmon caught at the mouth of the Garnish River on the Burin Peninsula escaped from an aquaculture farm.
Critics fear that type of incident could threaten wild salmon populations.
The industry is also fighting a disease problem.
Infectious salmon anemia was confirmed at a Gray Aqua site near Conne River in July 2012, which led federal officials to order the destruction of hundreds of thousands of salmon at the site.
In December 2012, more fish were destroyed after another outbreak at a Cooke Aquaculture facility in Hermitage Bay.
While scientists have said those infected fish are safe to eat, the CFIA has not approved their sale in stores.
Kiribati's Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development
Seafish has launched a new web resource called 'A Guide to Seafood Standards' to provide information and an online tool to compare and contrast the different certification standards which apply to fish and shellfish supplied in the UK.
Paul Williams, chief executive of Seafish said: "As the seafood industry has increased its emphasis on responsible sourcing, many more suppliers are using certification schemes to underline quality and ethical practice. This focus on improvement is great news both for consumers and for our industry, but the proliferation of different schemes can also sometimes be confusing.
"That's why we set out to create a new web resource to put all the information on the different standards in one place, so that users could better compare their features and benefits."
The Guide to Seafood Standards provides detailed information on all the certification schemes currently relevant to seafood, many of which also appear on product labelling and menus. It incorporates an interactive tool which describes how each standard is applied and the criteria used to measure factors such as food safety, environment, animal and social welfare.
The launch of The Guide follows the MCS's reclassification of mackerel, just five months after it was removed from the safe to eat list, which highlights how confusing sustainability ratings can be for consumers and industry.
Paul Williams said: "Standards are a vitally important way of certifying performance against set criteria, although as yet there is no statutory requirement for equivalence and the schemes vary in the factors they cover. We hope that by providing more information this new Guide will increase understanding of this important facet of our industry and so help to 'demystify' the schemes for users."
Chris Leftwich of Fishmongers Company said: "We believe that this is a great initiative from Seafish since it will help improve understanding of how certification standards can contribute to on-going improvement in the industry. It is also useful to be able to find information on all the different schemes in one place."
The Seafish Guide to Seafood Standards are available at: http://www.seafish.org/media/sustainability/a-guide-to-seafood-standards
“Our study shows that British customers are willing to pay up to 22 % extra for a packet of frozen cod or haddock when the products are labelled “line-caught”. The attribute “Icelandic” also gives a price premium and there are major price differences between the supermarket chains,” says Senior Scientist Geir Sogn-Grundvåg.
He has implemented the research in collaboration with Scientist Thomas A. Larsen and Professor James A. Young.
Sogn-Grundvåg believes that in a time of price pressure as a result of record high cod catches and weakened purchasing power in the main white fish markets, the fishery industry has a good opportunity to improve its financial position by offering more differentiated products.
Following 91 products
In 2010, as part of a four-year project financed by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF), Nofima started weekly price observations of almost 100 different frozen fish projects of cod, haddock and Alaska pollock in seven British supermarkets.
This market surveillance is now being continued through funding from the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. A so-called hedonic price analysis is being undertaken, which makes it possible to uncover the effect of each individual product attribute on price.
In particular these attributes displayed on packs are observable by shoppers prior to the purchase decision and as such reflect their individual choice and willingness, and ability, to pay for them.
The most striking result from the analysis is that the attribute “line-caught” commands a price premium of up to 22 %. This price premium, which applies for both cod and haddock, can probably be explained by the fact that line-caught fish is often of better quality than fish captured by other modes, has a higher unit cost price but represents values that consumers want.
“The fact that the supermarket chains choose to label products as line-caught in all likelihood has a connection to this mode of capture being perceived as having less impact on the seabed and, as such, fits in well with the chains’ endeavours to act responsibly and be perceived as engaging in sustainable fisheries,” says Sogn-Grundvåg.
“From a Norwegian perspective, it is interesting that our study shows that Icelandic origin commands a price premium of 5 %. The Norwegian Seafood Council is now stepping up marketing efforts in the British market, so in this context this information should be relevant,” says Sogn-Grundvåg.
Choice of super market
The largest fluctuations in price are linked to the supermarket chains’ own brands.
Marks & Spencer are top with a price premium of 49 %, followed by Coop with 32 % and Waitrose with 30 %, while Tesco and Lidl have price premiums of -23 % and -25 % respectively.
Within frozen white fish, there are only two producer labels, Birds Eye and Youngs. Birds Eye command a significant price premium of up to 46%, while Youngs command a 21 % premium. Alaska Pollock fillets, as expected, are much cheaper than fillets of cod and haddock.
“The large price differences between the seven supermarkets can be useful information for Norwegian exporters that are considering which supermarket chains to offer their products to. The price level we find across the chains corresponds well with the general retail price level,” says Sogn-Grundvåg.
“The knowledge about the scope of the price premiums for the various attributes can also be useful in price negotiations with the supermarket chains and in addition for Norwegian producers that are assessing how to differentiate their products in the market. This may also suggest that other attributes, possibly frozen at sea, might yet hold scope to realise price levels more in keeping with their differentiated offerings to the market.”
AUGUSTA - Despite highly visible defeats for Maine groundfishermen who have tried to overturn a state law that prohibits them from possessing lobsters, there may be hope yet for easing the restriction.
For the third time in six years — and the second time in the past two months — a bill that would legalize the practice is being considered in the Legislature.
Two earlier legislative proposals that would have allowed Maine groundfish boats to keep their incidental lobster bycatch and to land it in Maine have died in committee. In March 2007 and again this past April, the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee voted unanimously that each proposal ought not to pass.
Members of Maine’s lobster trap fishery strongly opposed both prior proposals, which contributed each bill’s defeat. Each time, lobstermen argued that allowing groundfishermen to keep the lobsters they drag up would place undue pressure on the resource and have an adverse effect on the lobster industry’s bottom line.
This time around, however, the idea has received partial support in the legislative committee and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association — the largest commercial fishing advocacy organization in Maine — has decided to remain silent.
With the latest bill, LD 1549, Maine’s groundfish industry essentially is asking to be allowed to take their lobster bycatch to Massachusetts, though the state is not mentioned specifically in the proposal. Maine groundfish boats routinely offload their catch in Massachusetts, where lobster bycatch is legal, but under Maine law no groundfish vessel with a licensed crew member from Maine is allowed to have lobster on board, regardless of where the boat plans to offload its catch.
Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland is the legislator who, at the urging of groundfishing-dependent businesses in her district, introduced all three bills. Groundfishermen say that being able to keep lobsters they catch incidentally while targeting groundfish species would help provide a welcome boost to the state’s dwindling groundfish fleet and the businesses they support.
Haskell said Thursday that the Marine Resources Committee voted 7-6 on the bill on May 22. With the split vote, she said, the bill is expected to go to the full Legislature — something that didn’t happen with either of her prior proposals.
Marty Odlin, whose family owns and operates three groundfishing boats out of Portland, said last week that their firm supports LD 1549. He said Maine groundfish boats have been taking lobster bycatch to Massachusetts for the past 30 years, during which time annual landings by Maine’s lobster trap fishery have increased from around 22 million pounds to more than 126 million pounds.
“It obviously doesn’t hurt the lobster population,” Odlin said of groundfish boats catching incidental lobsters. “There are so many lobsters in the Gulf of Maine, it’s impossible to avoid them.”
Patrice McCarron, executive director of Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said Thursday that unlike the prior bills, MLA has not taken an official position on and did not offer any testimony on LD 1549. She declined to go into specifics about the latest proposal or about MLA’s perspective on it, but she did say the group’s general position about how lobsters should be harvested remains the same. Any method other than using traps on the sea floor, she said, should not be permitted.
“We are philosophically opposed to dragging for lobsters,” McCarron said.
According to Haskell, LD 1549 would eliminate the threat of hefty fines for violating current Maine law by essentially legalizing the industry’s current practice of landing their catch in Massachusetts.
Under the current law, if any groundfish boat, whether it is based in Maine or not, is stopped by Maine Marine Patrol and has both a crew member with a Maine fishing license and dragged lobster on board, the captain of the boat could face a $50,000 fine, she said.
“It’s not a cost-of-business dollar amount,” Haskell said. “That’s a very severe penalty.”
According to officials with Maine Department of Marine Resources, which supports LD 1549, Maine Marine Patrol hasn’t gone offshore to enforce the state’s lobster bycatch ban for the past five years. There was a recent case of a Maine groundfish vessel being cited for having lobster bycatch on board, but that was a result of state and federal officials stopping the vessel for another reason, the officials said. Details about the enforcement action could not be tracked down for this story.
Haskell pointed out that the vast majority of groundfishing occurs in federal waters and that both federal law and Massachusetts law allow groundfish boats to keep lobster that get hauled up in their nets. As long as the practice is allowed elsewhere, she said, there will be incentive for Maine groundfishermen to establish residency out of Maine so they can get fishing licenses in other states.
That would mean businesses, income taxes and discretionary spending all moving out of state, Haskell said. The economic effect of driving the groundfish industry out of Maine, she said, would be significant.
“[But] they don’t have an option,” Haskell said. “They cannot risk a $50,000 fine.”
DMR, at the encouragement of Gov. Paul LePage, has supported recent legislative proposals to allow lobster bycatch to be landed in Maine. The state agency was opposed to the idea six years ago, but at hearings this spring it has urged the Marine Resources Committee to support changing the law.
“The Department supports this bill as a measure of protection for Maine’s groundfish fleet, as well as due to the pragmatic concerns of enforcing state law in federal waters,” Deputy DMR Commissioner Meredith Mendelson told the committee on May 22. “[DMR] remains committed to the preservation of our groundfishery and believes that this bill is an appropriate and narrowly tailored mechanism to protect the remaining vessels in Maine’s groundfish fleet.”
Despite DMR’s support and MLA’s silence, there still is opposition to the proposal beyond the six members of the Marine Resources Committee who voted against it.
Sheila Dassatt of Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, which has around 300 members, said Sunday that their group has not changed its position since the idea was debated six years ago. She said DELA opposes LD 1549 because dragging harms the ocean bottom, and that DELA has made its opposition known to legislators.
Dassatt cited the groundfish industry, which has seen its landings plummet over the past two decades, as an example of how quickly a resource can be depleted and then over the next decades struggle to recover.
“Our association is adamantly opposed to dragging, period,” Dassatt said.
Vietnam’s aquatic export turnover to Africa reached US$30.3 million in the first quarter of this year, up 15 percent against the same period last year.
Last year, the turnover to 25 African countries hit US$150 million, a 38 percent surge from 2011, with key exports including Tra and Ba Sa fish, shrimp and tuna.
According to the African, West and South Asian Markets Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnamese exporters have a good opportunity to promote seafood exports to African countries as the nations have to import numerous aquatic products to meet their domestic demand and their aquaculture industry is under-developed.
Vietnamese exporters are even able to study the possibility of implementing aquaculture projects in the continent and exporting seafood to surrounding countries.
Moreover, the profuse domestic supply of Tra fish at stable prices facilitates Vietnamese exporters’ trade with the continent.
Egypt has become Vietnam’s most promising aquatic export market with turnover of US$79.6 million in 2012, up 33 percent over the previous year.
However, Vietnamese exporters have encountered several difficulties in exporting their products to the African market.
It takes around 40 days to transport goods from Vietnam to Africa by sea, and there is no direct air route between them.
In easing the difficulties and stepping up aquatic exports to Africa, domestic enterprises need to ensure the quality of their products and meet importers’ food hygiene and safety standards.
They have also been asked to set up a distribution network with a single price in the continent’s key markets in order to avoid dumping.
The ministry says Egypt tops the list of Vietnam’s aquatic export markets in Africa.
It is followed by Tunisia with export turnover of US$11.16 million, Algeria with US$9.5 million, Cameroon with US$7.1 million, and Libya with US$6.5 million.
Escenarios de Mercado para el salmón transgénico / Transgenic Salmon Marketing Scenarios
Acuicultura en movimiento
03 de junio de 2013
A continuación se presentan algunos puntos relevantes que pueden servir de ejemplo para potenciar la industria acuícola en los países de América Latina.
El 7 de noviembre de 2012, Lowri Evans, encargada de la Dirección General de Asuntos Marítimos y Pesca (DG MARE) del Departamento de Pesca y Acuicultura de la FAO en Roma, presentó un discurso en el marco del evento denominado “Aquaculture in Motion”, organizado por la Federación Europea de Productores Acuícolas (FEAP, por sus siglas en inglés), en el cual se hicieron planteamientos importantes para impulsar el crecimiento de la acuicultura europea.
A continuación se presentan algunos puntos relevantes que pueden servir de ejemplo para potenciar la industria acuícola en los países de América Latina.
El 7 de noviembre de 2012, Lowri Evans, encargada de la Dirección General de Asuntos Marítimos y Pesca (DG MARE) del Departamento de Pesca y Acuicultura de la FAO en Roma, presentó un discurso en el marco del evento denominado “Aquaculture in Motion”, organizado por la Federación Europea de Productores Acuícolas (FEAP, por sus siglas en inglés), en el cual se hicieron planteamientos importantes para impulsar el crecimiento de la acuicultura europea.
A continuación se presentan algunos puntos relevantes que pueden servir de ejemplo para potenciar la industria acuícola en los países de América Latina.
Por qué debemos impulsar la acuicultura
- La demanda de productos del mar, impulsada por una creciente población mundial con un aumento en sus niveles de vida, no puede ser satisfecha por la pesca de captura solamente, incluso si ésta está bien gestionada y es próspera. Un sector acuícola fuerte y sostenible es esencial para que podamos satisfacer esta creciente demanda y ayudar a aliviar la presión sobre las poblaciones de peces silvestres.
- El papel de la acuicultura en el desarrollo de nuestras zonas costeras y del interior es igual de importante: la creación de empleo sostenible en las comunidades locales es una prioridad. La acuicultura es uno de los pilares del “Crecimiento Azul”, y nuestra tarea es crear las condiciones para cristalizar el potencial de crecimiento sostenible que sabemos que está allí.
- El sector acuícola ya cuenta con las condiciones ambientales ideales, tecnologías avanzadas y trabajadores calificados. A pesar de esto, la producción acuícola se ha estancado en la última década, mientras que la producción mundial ha experimentado un crecimiento espectacular. Una cuarta parte de todos los productos pesqueros que se consumen procede de la acuicultura y más de un tercio de las importaciones totales de mariscos son productos de granja.
- La FAO estima que en la actualidad, la mitad del pescado que el mundo consume proviene de la acuicultura, y que para el año 2030 esta cifra será del 65%, por lo que la acuicultura es uno de los segmentos de más rápido crecimiento en la industria alimentaria. Tenemos que actuar ahora para que la acuicultura sea más competitiva e innovadora y crear nuevos puestos de trabajo en este sector.
- Para ser más competitivos, la acuicultura debe ser un sector profesional, capaz de adaptarse rápidamente a las tendencias del mercado y responder a las expectativas del consumidor. Esto puede ser un reto para un sector tan variado y fragmentado. Nuestra idea es apoyar a las organizaciones de productores y las organizaciones interprofesionales para promover los planes de producción y comercialización a medida, informar mejor a los consumidores y diferenciar los productos acuícolas.
- En esencia, se trata de crear un entorno más favorable para la acuicultura. Los protagonistas son los emprendedores y las empresas a las que necesitamos ayudar a crecer. Deberemos ponerlos en condiciones de responder rápidamente a los desafíos actuales y futuros. Estoy segura de que trabajando juntos podremos alcanzar el objetivo de una acuicultura próspera, sostenible y competitiva”.
Como comentamos anteriormente, ojalá este discurso sirva de ejemplo para algunos funcionarios y encargados de las políticas públicas en los países de América Latina. El potencial que tienen estos países de producir alimentos acuícolas es considerablemente mayor en comparación con los países de la Unión Europea. Resulta totalmente incongruente que estos países no tengan un plan definido y debidamente soportado con los recursos económicos necesarios para impulsar el crecimiento de su producción acuícola, mientras que los europeos se preocupan por desarrollar su limitada variedad de especies, en sus limitados espacios compartidos, con sus limitadas condiciones climatológicas.
PARIS — The European Union on Thursday agreed to an overhaul of the region’s fisheries policy, a deal intended to make commercial fishing more sustainable.
While officials hailed it as a landmark agreement, some environmentalists said the deal might not be ambitious enough.
The agreement, the first overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy since 2002, was reached early Thursday by Maria Damanaki, the European fisheries commissioner; Ulrike Rodust, a German member of the European Parliament; and Simon Coveney, the Irish fisheries minister, on behalf of the European Union’s 27 national fishing ministries. The deal requires the consent of all 27 member countries of the European Union, but their approval is expected.
“This is a historic step for all those involved in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors,” Ms. Damanaki said in a statement. “We are going to change radically the way we fish in the future.”
The current policy has been widely regarded as a failure. According to European Union data, 80 percent of Mediterranean fish stocks and 47 percent of Atlantic stocks have been overfished.
In February, Parliament gave overwhelming support for a strict new policy. But the European fisheries council balked at the plan. Since then, both sides have worked to resolve their differences.
As part of the deal, negotiators agreed to end overfishing by setting quotas at levels consistent with scientific advice and bringing fleet capacity in line with fish stocks. Overfishing is supposed to stop by 2015, with a five-year grace period for exceptional cases. Officials also agreed that stocks should be managed with a goal of being returned to sustainable levels.
They also decided to seek an end to the wasteful practice of discarding unwanted fish at sea. The new rules will also pass on more decision-making to the national and local authorities.
The negotiators rejected a proposal to create transferable fishing rights, which had prompted fears among small operators that Europe’s fishing quotas would end up in the hands of large companies. Ms. Damanaki said the overhaul would also address the claim that European fleets act in environmentally destructive ways in overseas waters.
“We are going to apply the same principles when we are fishing abroad,” she said. “We will fully respect international law and our commitments.”
Conservation organizations generally applauded the deal reached on Thursday, praising Parliament for taking a strong stand. But critics question Europe’s will to enforce its own laws, noting that no deadline had been set for the sustainability goal.
Sergi Tudela, head of the fisheries program at the environmental group WWF Mediterranean, said the language in the agreement meant that it might be 100 years before some stocks recovered to sustainable levels. The deal “fails to end overfishing and ensure recovery of fish stocks within a reasonable time frame,” Mr. Tudela said.
Uta Bellion, a spokeswoman for the Pew Charitable Trusts and Ocean2012, a coalition of environmental organizations, said identifying sustainability as a management principle was an important step, despite the lack of a target date. The deal, she added, showed that Europe had learned the lessons of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a 1976 law in the United States that is credited with improving the supervision of American commercial fishing.
Ms. Bellion also said she welcomed an element of the new policy that rewards “low impact” fishers by giving them a larger share of the catch, a measure to encourage environmentally responsible practices.
Another battle looms on the horizon, this time over the subsidies the European Union pays out annually to fishermen. Those subsidies are considered to be a cause of unsustainable overfishing, since they keep otherwise unprofitable boats in the water.
Μία πρωτοφανή απάτη έχουν στήσει αδίστακτοι λαθραλιείς και ιχθυέμποροι, οι οποίοι διαθέτουν στην αγορά καρχαρίες αντί για γαλέους, καθώς και άλλα απειλούμενα είδη, όπως γιγαντιαία σαλάχια, τα οποία διοχετεύουν σε ανυποψίαστους καταναλωτές, με ολέθριες συνέπειες για τη δημόσια υγεία.
Όπως αναφέρει το real.gr, με τους επιστήμονες του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Θαλάσσιων Ερευνών, οι κορυφαίοι θηρευτές είναι ακατάλληλοι για ανθρώπινη κατανάλωση, καθώς το δέρμα τους περιέχει υψηλές συγκεντρώσεις από τοξικά βαρέα μέταλλα.
Πέρα από την απάτη, όμως, επιστήμονες και φορείς κατήγγειλαν στη Realnews ότι στη χώρα μας συντελείται ένα οικολογικό έγκλημα που απειλεί την ύπαρξη του καρχαρία στις ελληνικές θάλασσες. Οι επιτήδειοι αλιείς ψαρεύουν τους καρχαρίες με συρμάτινα παραγάδια, αντί πετονιάς, για να μη σπάει από τα δόντια τους και, αφού τους ψαρέψουν, ισχυρίζονται ότι η αλιεία ήταν τυχαία και ότι τα σπάνια είδη μπερδεύτηκαν στα αλιευτικά τους εργαλεία κατά τύχη.
Η «νοθεία» συντελείται στις ιχθυόσκαλες όπου καταλήγουν τα σπάνια καρχαριοειδή. Εκεί αφαιρούνται τα πτερύγια και το κεφάλι τους και τεμαχίζονται σε φιλέτα, ώστε να γίνουν αγνώριστα και να μην μπορεί να ταυτοποιηθεί η σπανιότητα του αλιεύματος από τις λιμενικές Αρχές. Επειτα οι απειλούμενοι καρχαρίες «βαφτίζονται» γαλέοι και ως τέτοιοι καταλήγουν στο πιάτο του καταναλωτή, με κόστος που πολλές φορές ξεπερνά τα 12 ευρώ το κιλό.
«Δεν πραγματοποιείται κανένας απολύτως έλεγχος από τα λιμεναρχεία, ούτε καν στις ιχθυόσκαλες, για το τι είδος αλιεύεται», καταγγέλλει η θαλάσσια βιολόγος Αναστασία Μήλιου από το Ινστιτούτο Θαλάσσιας Προστασίας «Αρχιπέλαγος», που εδώ και χρόνια αποτελεί μέλος του Shark Alliance (συμμαχία για τη σωτηρία του καρχαρία), μιας κορυφαίας συμφωνίας μεταξύ διεθνών οικολογικών οργανώσεων για τη προστασία των καρχαριοειδών.
Οι ειδικοί επιμένουν ότι οι καταναλωτές πρέπει να ρωτούν για την προέλευση των φιλέτων του δήθεν γαλέου που αγοράζουν από τους έμπορους στις συνοικιακές ψαραγορές, καθώς «στους πάγκους δεν πωλούνται μόνο γαλέοι, ούτε “σκυλόψαρα”, όπως λανθασμένα τα χαρακτηρίζει η Εθνική Στατιστική Υπηρεσία (ΕΛΣΤΑΤ) όταν συγκεντρώνει αλιευτικά δεδομένα απευθείας από τις ιχθυόσκαλες της χώρας. Αντίθετα, αποτελούν σπάνια είδη, που προστατεύονται από διεθνείς και ευρωπαϊκές συνθήκες», εξηγεί η Μαρία Σαλωμίδη, θαλάσσια βιολόγος του Ινστιτούτου Ωκεανογραφίας του ΕΛΚΕΘΕ.
Σύμφωνα με την ΕΛΣΤΑΤ, τα τελευταία 60 χρόνια αλιεύτηκαν 334 μετρικοί τόνοι γαλέων, καθώς και 200 μετρικοί τόνοι σκυλόψαρων. Τα πιο προσφιλή είδη με τα οποία γίνεται η «σαλαμοποίηση» του γαλέου είναι: ο λευκός καρχαρίας, ο σαπουνάς, ο προσκυνητής, το πριονόψαρο καθώς και τα αλεπόσκυλα, όλα τους προστατευόμενα και εξαιρετικά απειλούμενα είδη.
Το θράσος ορισμένων εμπόρων δεν έχει όρια, αφού αρκετοί δεν διστάζουν να διαφημίζουν στους καταναλωτές ότι πωλούν λευκό καρχαρία, όπως άλλωστε διαπίστωσε πρόσφατα το «Αρχιπέλαγος» να πωλείται σε πάγκο ψαραγοράς μεγάλης αλυσίδας σούπερ μάρκετ. «Η καταγγελία έγινε μέσω facebook. Στον πάγκο υπήρχε ένα κεφάλι καρχαρία, ενώ η ταμπέλα διαφήμιζε ότι πωλούνται φιλέτα λευκού καρχαρία», εξηγεί η Α. Μήλιου. «Φυσικά, οι Αρχές δεν επενέβησαν ποτέ. Δεν έγινε κανένας έλεγχος ούτε στο αλιευτικό σκάφος, ούτε στην ιχθυόσκαλα, ούτε στα ράφια του σούπερ μάρκετ, αφήνοντας ένα απειλούμενο θαλάσσιο είδος να φτάσει στο πιάτο των καταναλωτών».
Οι καρχαρίες είναι απειλούμενα είδη που επιτελούν τον πιο σημαντικό ρόλο σε ολόκληρο το οικοσύστημα. Η ύπαρξή τους στα νερά είναι ισχυρός δείκτης υγείας, λένε οι ειδικοί, καθώς λειτουργούν, κατά κάποιο τρόπο, σαν τα απορριμματοφόρα της θάλασσας, απομακρύνοντας νεκρά κήτη, άρρωστα ψάρια και θηλαστικά, καθώς και άλλα κουφάρια που βρίσκονται είτε στον βυθό είτε στην επιφάνεια της θάλασσας.
Μάλιστα, προειδοποιούν ότι εάν εκλείψουν τα καρχαριοειδή κινδυνεύει να διαταραχτεί ολόκληρη η θαλάσσια ιχθυοπανίδα, υπογραμμίζοντας ότι το έδεσμα όχι μονό δεν είναι «γκουρμέ», αλλά άκρως επικίνδυνο για κατανάλωση.
«Οι καταναλωτές πρέπει να γνωρίζουν ότι όλοι οι καρχαρίες του Αιγαίου δεν τρώγονται! Τα προστατευόμενα είδη που αναγράφονται στους καταλόγους των ψαροταβερνών πρέπει να καταγγέλλονται στις Αρχές», τονίζει Μαρία Σαλωμίδη, αναφέροντας ότι: «Ερευνες του ΕΛΚΕΘΕ μαζί με ιταλικά ινστιτούτα έδειξαν ότι όλοι οι κορυφαίοι θηρευτές της θάλασσας συσσωρεύουν τοξικά βαρέα μέταλλα στο σώμα τους, όπως υδράργυρο και αρσενικό, σε απαγορευτικές τιμές για την ανθρώπινη υγεία».
Σύμφωνα με τους ερευνητές, αυτό εξηγείται λόγω της επιβάρυνσης που δέχεται η θάλασσα από τη ρύπανση που προκαλούν τα διερχόμενα πλοία, καθώς και τα βιομηχανικά απόβλητα που παρασύρθηκαν στο πέλαγος. Ο καρχαρίας ακολουθεί τα διερχόμενα πλοία και έτσι συσσωρεύει στο ευαίσθητο δέρμα του όλη τη ρύπανση και τα βαρέα μέταλλα, ενώ επισκέπτεται περιοχές στις οποίες μπορεί να βρει εύκολα την τροφή του, όπως θαλάσσιους όρμους όπου αδειάζουν τα οργανικά τους απόβλητα βιοτεχνίες, όπως σφαγεία, τυροκομεία κ.ά.
Καταγραφές του ΕΛΚΕΘΕ έδειξαν ότι οι περισσότεροι από αυτούς ζουν στην περιοχή της Λεβαντίνης (νότια Κρήτη), στο βόρειο Αιγαίο κοντά στο ακρωτήρι Αθω, στο Καστελόριζο και στη Ρόδο, αλλά και στα ύδατα του Ιονίου από Κύθηρα έως Κάβο Μαλλιά. Μέχρι και σήμερα δεν έχουν καταφέρει να συλλέξουν αναλυτικά δεδομένα, καθώς γίνεται ολοένα και πιο δύσκολος ο εντοπισμός τους, γεγονός που ανησυχεί επιπλέον τους επιστήμονες.