The decadence and complicated situation of Uruguay's industrial fishing sector was exposed by Senator Gustavo Penadés in the Upper House as well as the need for urgent public support to help the country take advantage of the many aquatic resources in rivers, lagoons and the sea, the ocean.
In a sustained process the contribution of the fisheries sector to the Uruguayan GDP has been falling, and the lesser activity has meant that in the 2008/15 some 2,300 jobs linked to the fish processing plants have been lost. Of the 4,116 workers back in 2008 only 1,738 are left while in the same period 26 companies linked to fisheries have closed down.
Of the 25 processing hake in 2005, there are only 14 left; of 47 operating with other species six still survive; and in category D, international waters fisheries, from nine only one is left. Likewise while in 1980, Uruguay's catch totaled 146,973 tons, now it barely reaches 50,000 tons.
The numbers of industrial fishing decadence should call us to a geopolitical reflection of how to best support the effort, with all its opportunities and challenges, said Senator Penadés underpinning that without a joint collaboration from government and the private sector, no long term policy can be established.
The Senator then points out to the multiple issues to address: advising and strengthening national and bi-national entities with involvement in the matter; scientific and political support to sustain the best decisions; the role of government in waters under its jurisdiction with a Navy that can count with the necessary resources; the South Atlantic projection; industrial relations and loans to help with long term investments.
Penades added that a special chapter of great relevance is sustained research of the available resources and potential exploitation possibilities. This demands a constructive dialogue between the State, academia and the private sector, so as to have sufficient resources to fund research, labs, equipment and scientific vessels. Likewise develop aquaculture and the breeding of different sea species in pens.
Senator Penades who belongs to the senior partner of the current ruling coalition in Uruguay finished his words with an encouragement touch. In effect given the strategic significance of fisheries and processing plants for the country, some measures are already in the pipeline.