Uruguay and FAO, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, signed last July an agreement for the implementation of a three years fisheries management project which hopefully will make Uruguay's fishing industry more efficient and with greater technical emphasis.
The project named "Fisheries management in Uruguay" has a budget of six million US dollars and will cover five main areas, industrial fishing; artisanal fishing, institutional framework; commercialization and aquaculture. "Although it took months to formalize the terms of the project and contract, it is unique in so far all funds will be provided by Uruguay and FAO is contracted to give technical assistance and support for the overall management of the project", said Heimo Mikkola, FAO permanent representative in Uruguay. The agreement was signed by Mr. Mikkola and Daniel Montiel, Uruguay's Director of Aquatic Resources, DINARA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries office which is responsible for the country's sea and fluvial resources. Interviewed by MercoPress Mr Mikkola was particularly enthusiastic about the institutional framework review which is contemplated in the fisheries management project. "The idea is to have Daniel (Montiel) to look after all the major policies and the political side of DINARA, while a contracted expert will be in charge of the everyday running of affairs and technical aspects of the whole operation. This will give Daniel more time and the expert can concentrate on the specific industry issues", said Mikkola. Another interesting aspect of the project is that DINARA is scheduled to receive the necessary funds and staff training to improve its laboratory facilities so it can set up its own certification process, quality controls and scientific logistics which now mostly depend from other government offices or the private sector. "This should give DINARA a greater say and backup in technical and scientific issues related to the industry and the whole export and innovation fields" underlined Mikkola. The project which will have a managing committee with representatives from FAO, DINARA, Ministry of Agriculture and other government offices is expected to begin operating in the coming days. Finally the development and promotion of aquaculture is considered a very promising chapter with potential for farming salmon, tilapia, crawfish, silversides and catfish. "Uruguay already has an established and successful sturgeon farm operation for brown caviar in the Rio Negro. There are some experiments with craw fish, mussels and silversides, which hopefully with the project could get a boost and turn into success stories. We're optimistic and looking forward to the implementation of the project", concluded Mikkola. Mr. Mikkola with a vast experience in Africa has been FAO permanent representative in Uruguay for over two years. Born in Finland he has a Ph.D. in Applied Zoology & Limnology, M. Sc. Zoology.