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Montevideo, April 24th 2024 - 16:49 UTC



Uruguayan fishing said to be “on the brink of collapse”

Monday, April 1st 2024 - 10:50 UTC
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Costs need to be lowered for Uruguay's fishing to be competitive Costs need to be lowered for Uruguay's fishing to be competitive

Uruguayan fishing industry leaders demanded concrete responses from President Luis Lacalle Pou after the activity fell in a stoppage from here it needs to recover. “It is more profitable to bring fish from Argentina,” one of the leaders argued as the sector was said to be “on the verge of collapse.” The crisis worsened in recent weeks as costs keep spiraling.

Carlos Olivera, executive director of Novabarca, told Radio Carve that the situation was “complex” and regretted that most ships were stopped amid a decrease in fishing. As “hake fishing has been affected,” Olivera warned that “it has become more profitable to bring frozen fish from Argentina.”

He also found a lack of favorable regulations to encourage investment and development, and called for “modernizing the regulations” and exploring “new opportunities in the exploitation of marine genetic resources.”

The Chamber of Fishing Industries of Uruguay (CIPU) and the Chamber of Fishing Shipowners of Uruguay (CAPU) launched a few days ago a joint communiqué where they considered Lacalle's government was “irresponsible.”

“Not taking actions or continuing to delay them is also a decision, with consequences that the Executive Power will have to assume. The political system must decide if it wants fishing in our country,” the guilds stressed.

With 90% of Uruguay's fishing fleet paralyzed for three months, and almost 3,000 people directly affected, “if nothing changes, they will probably not be able to work in fishing again,” they added.

The business chambers linked to fishing have been denouncing for months the unfeasibility of the activity outside the harvest due to high costs; while workers speak of a “delicate situation” in terms of income and availability.

Hence the joint statement from the CIPU and CAPU urging the government “to correct serious irregularities that have been brought to the attention of the authorities for years.”

“We businessmen have continued investing, getting into debt, and working at a loss, many times for the sole reason that the workers do not lose their source of livelihood. The lack of answers from the government for months is totally irresponsible and, in practice, ends up condemning some companies,” the communiqué stressed.

As CIPU and CAPU recalled, the sector has been requesting “urgent measures to avoid the paralysis of the industrial fishing fleet and with it, the damage it causes to the entire business and social fabric of the sector.”

“The Fishing Industry can and should be a source of wealth for Uruguayans,” they also noted while warning that production and employment could be doubled or tripled if the political system decided “once and for all if it wants there to be fishing in our country or not.”

The business chambers are asking the government to lower labor, insurance, and fishing permit costs, in addition to turning fines into warnings and other matters concerning ports and docks operations for the industry to become competitive, particularly against the strong challenges from Argentina.

From the workers' angle, strikes are part of a premeditated strategy aimed at the next salary negotiation, as well as the search for benefits or tax exemptions for the sector. (Source: Ámbito)

Categories: Fisheries, Uruguay.

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