Deep-sea fish markets shut down in Spain; Whale hunting and the Guatemala vote; The long files of Antonio Vidal and Fadilur; New Zealand lowers several TACs; Chile regulates brown algae extraction; Seafood market to focus on fewer species;
Deep-sea fish markets shut down in Spain
The Spanish Federation of Fisheries Organisations (FEOPE) and the Spanish Federation of Fishing Vessels Owners (FEABP) decided to close all deep-sea fish markets to protest the lack of response from the Spanish central government and the European Community, EC, to the ever growing cost of gas oil.
Fish markets in Vigo, Marin, La Coruña, Celeiro, Burela and Ribeira remained closed Monday October 3, and fish markets in Ondarroa, Pasajes and Santander will follow October 5, 6 and 7.
The fishing industry decision was prompted by the "passive" stance of Spanish and EC authorities in adopting "short term measures to help alleviate the critical situation the companies and workers of the industry are going through", said a joint FEOPE/FEABP release.
Last September 14, Spanish fishing industry organizations submitted a document to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, requesting the enforcement of a list of measures by September 30. However the Ministry replied the organizations will be received in Madrid next October 10. In protest deep sea fish markets were shut down.
Among the measures requested are the creation of a special fund from which to purchase gas oil at 0,27 Euro per litre; exemption of port duties, social security taxes and other rates when the price of gas oil is above the 0,27 benchmark; a more effective defense of the industry in the EU Council of Fishing ministries; fuel saving support subsidies to improve engine and propeller systems; a system of bans and compensations to ensure industry sustainability. (FIS/MP)
Whale hunting and the Guatemala vote
Environmentalists and human rights activists called on Central America Guatemalan President Oscar Berger to veto legislation ratifying the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
"Guatemala has no whaling interests and it doesn't make any sense ratifying a convention geared for the hunting of whales" said Carlos Albacete from Tropico Verde environmental group.
Furthermore, "there's evidence of foreign influence to have Guatemala become a member of that commission with the purpose of having us vote in favour of reopening commercial whale hunting" warned Mr. Albacete in Guatemala City.
Two weeks ago at the request of the Executive the Guatemalan Congress approved legislation ratifying the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Environmentalists warn that if President Berger finally signs the bill, Guatemala could be casting the decisive vote for reopening commercial whale hunting, which have been banned since 1986 by the International Whaling Commission.
Carlos Salvatierra a member of another environmentalist group Colectivo Madreselva said ratification of the convention comes "only two weeks after a visit to Japan by President Berger" and following ruling party Congressman Victor Ramirez invitation to Japan to learn about Japanese whale conservation programs.
"That's sufficient evidence to conclude that the signing of the convention has been induced to favour foreign interests" blasted Mr. Salvatierra. Japan, Iceland and Norway are the world's main whaling countries and have for years strongly lobbied for the reopening of commercial whale hunting.
The long files of Antonio Vidal and Fadilur
Spanish national Antonio Vidal Pego and the Uruguayan corporation Fadilur, recently indicted by a United States grand federal jury in Miami, the first case ever in the US for the sale of illegally possessed toothfish, as well as the longliner involved in the operation FN Carran, have long been identified in the COLTO site.
According to the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators "Hammer" (previously known as Carran) is owned by Navalmar SA, chartered as a bare boat to Fadilur SA and flagged to Uruguay. The vessel operated as sister ship to the ex-Navalmar owned Dorita.
Viarsa Fishing Co. (Panama) owned the Carran until several months after the Viarsa I was captured. (Viarsa Fishing Co. owned the Viarsa I and chartered the vessel to Navalmar from June 11, 2002). After ownership of the Carran was transferred to Navalmar, the vessel was chartered to Fadilur on July 3, 2002.
Navalmar and Fadilur are both directed by Luis Pazos. Fadilur has sold toothfish to Pac Fish Inc and Thalassa Export Co. Navalmar has sold toothfish to both of these companies, as well as the Antonio Vidal Suarez-owned Viarsa Fishing Co. (Mauritius) and Vidal Armadores.
The Carran was identified unloading toothfish in Jakarta in early October 2002. The vessel landed toothfish in Mauritius in late January 2003, and landed toothfish in Walvis Bay, Namibia in June 2003.
In September 2003 the vessel was serviced by local Montevideo shipping agent Deep Blue SA, directed by Guillermo (Deep Blue also services other vessels linked to Navalmar and Vidal Armadores including Dorita and Galaecia). The Carran was seen in mid-November 2003 with Maya V in Walvis Bay, Namibia where the vessels together offloaded 600 tonnes of toothfish.
Carran held a Uruguayan Category D fishing permit (allowing high seas fishing outside of CCAMLR waters) which was apparently suspended in February 2004. The vessel was seen unloading 350 tonnes of toothfish in Singapore in April 2004. Carran was later seen in Singapore in November/December 2004 trying to unload but encountered problems with DCD's due to un-clear registration.
The vessel claimed to be Uruguay flagged, but Uruguay government sources apparently disputed that. The Carran was sighted in Port Louis, Mauritius in February 2005. In March 2005 the vessel renamed as Hammer and flagged to Togo was seen fishing with five other vessels on the Banzare Bank, an area which had been closed to fishing by CCAMLR. The other vessels were the Togo-flagged Ross and the Condor and the Georgian-flagged Kang Yuan, Jian Wuan and Koko.
The armed Australian fisheries patrol, Oceanic Viking, could only request them to leave but because the flag states of these vessels are not members of the commission, international law does not allow any additional action to be taken.
New Zealand lowers several TACs
New Zealand's new fishing year, which kicked off October first, has been subjected to a number or restrictions announced by Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope to ensure sustainability and proper management. The minister has asserted that the measures, which are being welcomed in part by the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, were evolved on the best available data and stakeholder advice.
A stock assessment made on the North Island west coast snapper fishery (SNA 8) showed snapper biomass to be at 50% off target. As a result, Benson-Pope cut its total allowable catch (TAC) from 2,060 tonnes to 1,785 tonnes, and ordered the reductions to be shared among all stakeholders. In addition penalty rates for commercial fishermen have been hiked.
TACs for kahawai have also been cut by 10% in all areas, in an effort to rebuild stocks. This reduction will also be shared by all users.
Annual TACs for Northern North Island Grey Mullet (GMU 1), Rig (SPO 1), and Flatfish (FLA 1) were kept at 2005 levels, as were those for the eastern and southern elephant fish stocks (ELE 3 & 5), the eastern South Island rig (SPO 3) fishery, and the Hoki (HOK 1) fishery. TACs for the western South Island hake fishery (HAK 7), however, were upped from 6,923.4 tonnes to 7,777 tonnes.
Other regulation changes include an allowance for commercial fishers to return kingfish by-catch, excluding that which has been caught by set nets, to the sea, provided the fish are likely to survive.
The minister has also opened up four new areas for beach-cast seaweed harvesting in portions of Bay of Plenty/Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborne region, Banks Peninsula region, and the Marlborough Sounds region.
Lastly, some penalty rates, or annual deemed values, that commercial fishers must pay upon exceeding their annual by-catch quotas have been reduced for alfonsino (BYX 1), Jack mackerel (JMA 3), rough skate (RSK 1 & 3), stargazer (STA 8), tarakihi (TAR 4), sea perch (SPE 4), elephant fish (ELE 3 & 5), and hÃÃ‚Â¤puka (HPB 3). Moreover, differential deemed values will no longer apply to pale ghost shark (GSP) or elephant fish (ELE 3 and 5).
Albeit generally pleased with Benson-Pope's measures, New Zealand Seafood Industry Council CEO Owen Symmans was disappointed with the 10% cut announced for kahawai TACs. He said that the decision was inequitable, as its brunt will fall mainly on the commercial sector. (FIS/MP).-
Chile regulates brown algae extraction
Chile has imposed strict conservation regulations on extraction of brown algae (Lessonia nigrescens, Lessonia trabeculata and Macrocystis spp.) mainly along the northern coastline from Region I to Region IV, given the growing domestic and international demand from dry algae and farmed abalone exporters.
Fisheries Under Secretary Director Vilma Correa said that an 18 months extraction ban, beginning September 29 has become effective because we're nearing the "over extraction" point and "we're facing a threat to the activity's sustainability".
Gustavo San Martín, director of the Fisheries Department Benthonic Resources Unit said that from the point of view of sustainable management, enforced regulation will allow the implementation of strategies aimed at extracting the resource under specific criteria to ensure long-term conservation.
The Fisheries official also highlighted the social factor of the brown algae industry, which provides the natural structure for biologic communities to thrive, housing species of commercial importance such as limpets and urchins, as well as a wide range of fish, mollusks and crustaceans. Many of which are the mainstay of many coastal fishermen in regions I to IV.
The implementation of the ban and conservation measures will be coordinated with the private sector and the Chilean National Fisheries Service. (FIS/MP).-
Seafood market to focus on fewer species
According to a University of Rhode Island resource economist, the United States seafood industry will be outputting more convenience foods, sending more of its fish for processing abroad, and facing fiercer competition from aquaculture in the next 20 years.
More thoroughly, Dr Jim Anderson told SitNews that the seafood market was gradually focusing on less species, with shrimp, canned tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish "accounting for a much bigger share of consumption than they did in the past." His view is that the latter species, which are listed as the top five for United States consumers, are squeezing out the less popular fish.
Revealing that Alaska should tap into specific niches, by positioning itself as a major provider of wild seafood from well-managed fisheries, Anderson said that the state's potential was great.
Anderson also said that per capita seafood consumption in the US has not risen at forecasted rates.
Regarding the importation of seafood, Anderson said that it would continue rising, as US companies send seafood caught in national waters to "places like China to get processed and then sent back to the US as a breaded product."
Anderson expects tilapia production to grow substantially in the next two decades and as for the species, he said that "there will be remarkable, explosive growth. (FIS/MP).-