As with other sectors of the global economy, fisheries and aquaculture are also being affected by the spread of COVID-19. Producers, processors, traders, and consumers are both directly and indirectly feeling the impact of the virus, the consequences of which, particularly for populations that depend heavily on seafood for food security and nutrition, can be severe. FAO has therefore released a brief on how COVID-19 is affecting the fisheries and aquaculture sector and suggested measures to support the different players in the supply chain. Production, for instance, may suffer from the imposition of sanitary measures on board that make fishing difficult, crews may not be able to join their vessels due to travel restrictions, and the necessary supplies of bait or ice may not be available. In addition, demand in some countries has fallen as a result of unfounded perceptions about links between COVID-19 and seafood. Aquaculture production is affected by the closure of markets, the shutdown of the HORECA sector, and restrictions on flights and cargo movements. In the processing sector issues with cross border transport, uncertain supply of raw materials, and market restriction are among the challenges companies must face. COVID-19 is also likely to have an impact on fisheries management and policy as stock assessments, fisheries observer programmes, and science and management meetings may all be postponed or cancelled. Measures to support the different elements in the supply chain extend from expanding government purchases of seafood to maintain demand and prevent a slump in prices to extending credit and microfinance facilities to fish farmers to ensuring smooth passage of goods at ports, rail terminals, and at border crossings. The complete brief is available at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca8637en
The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) is one of the EU’s 11 fisheries advisory councils. Established under the Common Fisheries Policy the advisory councils are fora for dialogue between stakeholders in the fisheries sector in the areas they represent. The NWWAC advises on matters related to fisheries management in ICES areas 5b, 6 and 7 (EC offshore waters within the EEZ of Ireland, part of the United Kingdom and France). Early this year the NWWAC hosted a workshop “Re-imagining Gear in a Circular Economy” in Brussels in conjunction with the Baltic Sea Advisory Council, North Sea Advisory Council and Pelagic Advisory Council. Discussion at the workshop focused on the fishing gear component of recently introduced EU legislation, specifically the design, monitoring, collection and disposal of fishing gear.
Around 50 participants from 10 EU Member States discussed the challenges faced by the fishing sector relating to the proposed measures. These include the proposed introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme, under which producers of fishing gear cover the costs of the separate collection of waste fishing gear and its subsequent transport and treatment, as well as the envisaged standardisation of gear, relating to the circular design of fishing gear to encourage preparation for re-use and to facilitate recyclability at end-of-life, and the overall lack of data regarding volumes of end-of-life gear and current recycling rates.
Clear recommendations from the workshop include the need for a full lifecycle analysis of the various types of fishing gear, as well as a complete supply chain analysis in order to arrive at a clear picture of the scale of the issue. While communication and awareness raising within the sector are paramount, it is vital that all stakeholders at local, national and EU levels coordinate their approach, as this issue falls within multiple policy areas, namely fisheries, waste management and circular economy.
The full report is available here: http://www.nwwac.org/_fileupload/Minutes%20and%20Reports/2020/Gear%20Workshop/FINAL%20Report%20AC%20Gear%20Workshop%202020_EN.pdf. For French or Spanish translations, enter the relevant version of the website at www.nwwac.org and visit the publications section.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have profound implications, shaping global demand and altering the supply patterns of many industries, not least the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Fish and fish products need to move across borders with no restrictions, while in compliance with the existing measures to protect consumers’ health.
In order to assist the sector, GLOBEFISH will soon start disseminating a periodical newsletter covering past, current and future impacts of the pandemic on fisheries and aquaculture through the contribution of multiple participants in the value chain in different parts of the world.
In this regard, GLOBEFISH would greatly appreciate external input by responding to a short questionnaire.
The information collected will form a key basis for assessment and enable the industry to better access current information. Please note that all answers will be treated confidentially, and data will only be reported at aggregate levels.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is continuously monitoring and sharing information on the COVID-19, particularly possible disruptions in the food supply chain and challenges in terms of logistics. GLOBEFISH is part of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO, responsible for providing up-to-date market and trade information on fish and fish products.
The International Organization for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) and the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the objective of increasing the representation of women invited as speakers to the NASF conference to a level of 40% by 2025. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals include one on gender equality and NASF sees this as a necessary foundation for developing the NASF conference further towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The 40% target covers not only female participation as conference speakers, but also at the event’s seminars. When planning the event NASF will raise awareness among seafood leaders about gender equality and both organisations will widely promote the memorandum.
Anglers made the case at the European Parliament for full recognition of the recreational fisheries sector in the Common Fisheries Policy which, they said, was needed to properly manage public access to fish and to ensure the fair and sustainable management of fish stocks.
Following scientific meetings at a series of “Workshops on Gamete Biology in Aquaculture” in 2014, 2016 and 2018, a new concept called “International Symposium on Reproduction in Aquatic Animals (REPROAQUA 2020)” will be organized on 22-24 October 2020 in Trabzon, Turkey. The theme of the symposium is “Aquatic Genetic Resources: Importance, Threats and Conservation”. This international scientific event, to be held every two years, will be a platform for discussing scientific studies, current developments and problems related to the reproduction of aquatic animals and will also provide an opportunity for academicians, students, and industry representatives to exchange information. The event will avoid parallel sessions, enabling all participants to attend all presentations and follow the ensuing discussions. A poster hall will be available throughout the symposium and the programme will include a reception dinner, a Trabzon city tour, along with an excursion to Sumela (Meryem Ana) Monastery and Uzungöl (Uzun lake). More information is available at: www.ktu.edu.tr/reproaqua2020
Fish farming may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Bill Gates, but the philanthropist has made an investment in Greek aquaculture company Philosofish, Ekathimerini.com reports. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already supported Greek-owned fund Diorasis, which already has invested in Philosofish (formerly Bitsakos Fish Farming) and has also invested in WorldFish, focusing on fish farming in the developing world, so aquaculture is no new thing.
Philosofish is now the second largest Greek seabass and sea bream farming company thanks to the European Commission’s approval last year of rival Andromeda’s acquisition of Selonda and Nireus. The three-way merger could only be sanctioned through the sale of Nireus and Selonda assets to a third party. One of these was Philosofish, which subsequently added 12,000 tonnes to its existing 5,000 tonnes annual capacity in addition to taking over other assets. Sources say that additional funding by a top investment entity may find its way to the Greek company in the near future.
A number of prominent seafood shows and events have been cancelled or postponed due to the spreading fear of the coronavirus. The virus, officially named COVID-19, which emerged in the south east Chinese city of Wuhan was initially thought to have been contained within the country but has since showed a spread to most parts of the world with South Korea, Iran, and Italy hit particularly hard. Diversified Communications announced that the Seafood Expo North America, or the Boston Seafood Show’, taking place in mid-March would be postponed to, hopefully, later in 2020 as health, safety, travel restrictions, and logistics would be a concern. The announcement was followed some days later by another postponing their other show, the world’s biggest seafood event, Seafood Expo Global, to a date to be announced on 18 March (after Eurofish Magazine went to press). The Aquafeed Horizons 2020 conference taking place at the end of March and INFOFISH’s biannual event, World Tuna, at the end of May, both taking place in Bangkok have also been cancelled. The Regional Fisheries Conference ‘Market Opportunities and Challenges’ to be held in Gdynia at the end of March, organised by EUROFISH and the Polish Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation has also been postponed. Hopefully the seafood economy will recover rapidly from these setbacks and make up for lost opportunities as the threat of the virus recedes.
The Spanish Fisheries Confederation, CEPESCA, has requested the Spanish government to ensure the European Union defends its interests, primarily allowing the Spanish fleet to access the UK waters of the UK and, secondly, to maintain reciprocal access to markets. The Spanish fleet catches around 29,000 tonnes in the Northeast Atlantic of which 9 000 tonnes are caught in UK waters primarily hake, megrim and monkfish worth around €27m. Although these catches only account for 1% of total Spanish catches and far from, for example, Sweden’s 60%, they are essential for shipowners from Galicia, Asturia and Cantabria. Currently, the 88 Spanish-flagged vessels that can fish in the UK waters employ 2,150 crew members and generate around 10,750 indirect jobs.
The Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea is a networking event for stakeholders where significant projects for the region can be identified. The event had its first meeting in February, where representatives from the seven member countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine) met in Sofia and discussed issues including marine litter, protection against pollution of marine resources, sustainable shipping and digital connectivity. The activity is supported by organisations like the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Commission for the protection of the Black Sea against pollution, as well as the WWF and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank. The next steps include identifying thematic priorities as well as planning high level events and regional workshops that will be held in the second half of 2020.