Fishmonger section at Eroski supermarket
Despite the partial reopening of the HORECA channel, fish sales remain stagnant and prices drop
Saturday, May 30, 2020, 22:00 (GMT + 9)
- The sector fears the impact of the economic crisis on the demand for fishery products, which, together with the limitations imposed by COVID, threatens its future
- Shipowners continue to take steps to facilitate the release of ship crews that are in third countries
Madrid - The gradual opening of the HORECA channel, prompted by the entry into Phases 1 and 2 of the de-escalation, is not meeting the expectations of the fishing sector, which was confident of a recovery in prices and sales. In fact, it is calculated that the latter have dropped by around 10%, without the demand for shellfish and typical species of the restaurant such as sea bream or sea bream and wild turbot improving either. And, in terms of prices, the collapse started four weeks ago in the first sale of hake, rooster and monkfish remains.
Those responsible for the Crisis Committee of the sector, made up of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA), the National Federation of Provincial Associations of Retail Entrepreneurs of Fish and Frozen Products (FEDEPESCA) - whose fishmongers are beginning to regain their usual hours - and the Federation National Fishermen's Guilds (FNCP), fear the impact that the economic crisis that is being generated may have on trade in fishery products, the fall of which poses a threat to the future of their activity, also affected by the restrictions that have imposed the period of alarm decreed to slow down the advance of COVID-19.
While waiting for the recovery of the hotel and restaurant industry to take place, the Crisis Committee encourages Spanish consumers and distribution companies to support the sector, whose priority continues to be ensuring the supply of the market, buying fish caught by vessels Spanish, legal, sustainable and healthy, and encourages the co-responsibility of all the links in the commercial chain to offer fish at prices proportional to those of the first sale.
With this same objective, and in the face of a possible harsher recession than that of 2008, the sector trusts that the European Union will listen to the request of the Spanish Executive and increase the percentage of quota that can be transferred from this year to 2021, as well as the endowment of the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in a way that helps to cope with the effects of the crisis on fisheries.
Likewise, the sector demands compensation for workers and companies that have maintained their activity despite registering losses, exemption from taxes (VAT, IAE, Personal Income Tax), rates and fees to Social Security.
On the other hand, in the absence of news from the Ministry of Health regarding the authorization request for the purchase of COVID-19 serological detection tests, companies have been seeking solutions on their own to carry out the tests and try to guarantee fishermen's health. Likewise, they continue to take steps, with the collaboration of the General Secretariat of Fisheries and the Spanish Embassies in third countries, to speed up the release of crews on deep-sea fishing vessels that work in third-country waters and in high seas - replacements are still pending in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Mauritania, Peru or Papeete, among others.