Selecting sardines at a processing plant. (Photo: Luis Eustaquio)
Sardine production for human consumption on the rise
Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 22:10 (GMT + 9)
The sardine industry in Baja California is setting aside the transformation of this small pelagic into meal and focusing more on its use for human consumption, strengthening its marketing both domestically and internationally.
The annual sardine production of this Mexican state exceeds 65,000 tonnes. And now, both fishermen and industrialists are looking for value-added markets to sell their products in Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Just over a decade ago, all sardine catches in Baja California were destined to meal production as the vessels that were used did not have refrigerated containers.
Currently, the pelagic is gutted and frozen for export, and fishing companies are making investments to adapt their fleet to the new activity.
In this sense, Astilleros Progreso has recently completed the construction of the sardine boat Selecta V. This is the second vessel the shipyard makes for the fishing company Selecta, which invested about USD 300,000 in the new boat.
The promotion of domestic consumption of this fish is one of the policies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa) through the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca).
This process was also joined by the Small Pelagic Product System, in coordination with the School of Oenology and Gastronomy of the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC).
As part of the policy related to the promotion of the consumption of this species, the Sardine and Squid Festival will be held on 18 September. Besides, those companies involved in processing and exporting this species will participate in the IV edition of Baja Seafood Expo, which will take place from 22 to 25 September in Ensenada.
In this regard, Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Baja California (Sepesca-BC), Carlos Fernández Ruiz, during a tour around the plants of El Sauzal, assured the goal is to promote the value chain of the sardine fishery.
In addition, he noted that governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millán opened two new plants this year, both with sardine selection and freezing processes for exports.
Meanwhile, Rafael Lam Torres, process manager of the plant Zelect stressed that Ensenada ranks first in the country as to catching sardines for human consumption, beating regions such as San Carlos, Santa Rosalía and Guaymas.
By Silvina Corniola