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World Congress on Cephalopods: Outlook mixed for global squid market

Read IntraFish Reporter Lola Navarro's blog from the FAO's World Congress on Cephalopods in Vigo, Spain.

Monday, Oct. 3, 3.40 p.m. CET

How can consumers know what is best?

Of course, an eco-label is just the way to tell consumers they are buying a sustainable product but, is it?

To John Connelly, President of the National Fisheries Institute in the USA, both the industry and the different governments are failing to communicate the efforts and achievements of the different fisheries.

“An eco-label needs a certified fishery to exist, but you don’t need an eco-label to have a certified fishery,” Connelly said.

It is important that consumers understand the differences between sustainability, certifications, and eco-labels.

When we overcome the overfishing problem, will governments spread the word? Connelly asked, suggesting they will just leave that responsibility to third parties, namely eco-labels.

At his presentation at today’s congress on cephalopods, Connelly urged governments to change their message, to switch to a language consumers understand, and to take the lead in telling what fisheries are doing well.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 2.35 p.m. CET

Can Indian fisheries be sustainable?

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, India has coastline of 7,500 kilometers. In 2015, the country’s fishing  volumes reached 3.5 million metric tons, of which 213,477 metric tons were cephalopods.

Within this category, giant squid accounted for 107,846 metric tons, squid made up for 94,222 metric tons and octopus volumes came to 11,409 metric tons.

The vast capacity in the country, its more than 1,530 fishing ports, and the 199,141 fishing vessels make it a very difficult fishery to manage.

In addition, the country is not subject to total allowable catch (TAC) limits, but instead follows fishing bans that vary every year.

“This year, there have been bans in place during 61 days, way above a yearly average of 45 days without fishing,” Enrique García, general manager of Grupo Profand, told the audience at the World Congress on Cephalopods.

Spanish fully integrated company Profand, a supplier to Mercadona since 2011, operates under its Vayalat brand since in Kerala, the Indian fishing hub since 2012.

Since then, the company has become the largest exporter of cephalopod in the country, accounting for volumes of 15,000 metric tons a year.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 1.50 p.m. CET

Japan seeks GSSI recognition

Japan Fisheries Association is striving to be recognized by the GSSI as an objective benchmark tool, said Masashi Nishimura, chief of management at the association.

Sustainability has been an important part of the sourcing code for Tokyo Olympics 2020, and the association has a clear view on what should be the target.

“On the sourcing policy we should encourage fishermen to sustainability by promoting this practice,” Nishimura said.

In addition, he backed a variety of seafood certifications -- in particular those recognized by the GSSI as an objective benchmarking tool -- rather than a unique global standard.

“We should diverse seafood certifications rather than global standard, particulary the ones by GSSI as an objective benchmark tool.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 1.35 p.m. CET

Indonesian cephalopods lose market in Europe

In the first months of 2016, Indonesia exported €8.4 million worth of cephalopods – cuttlefish, squid and octopus – to the European Union, a 22 percent dropped compared with total exports a year earlier.

In terms of volume, the country exported some 8,000 metric tons to the EU over the period, down from 10,500 metric tons exporter the year prior.

Of it, more than 85 percent of the country’s exports went to Italy, 2.78 percent went to the United Kingdom, 2.26 percent was exported to Netherlands, and less than one percent to countries such as Spain, and Belgium.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 1.25 p.m. CET

South African squid fills the Argentinean gap

The South Africa squid fishery accounts for 7,000 metric tons to 8,000 metric tons a year, and will remain like that for years to come. Of the total, 95 percent is exported to Europe.

At the Global World Congress on Cephalopod, Dino Moodaley, president of South African Squid Industrial Association (SASMIA), said the industry is facing challenges but highlighted the benefits coming from a short supply from South America.

SASMIA was established in 1986, and is the only South African officially recognized body representing this fishery.

“The purpose of SASMIA is to achieve economic growth, build capacity and create employment in South Africa, Moodaley said.

In the last years, demand of South African squid from various counties including Spain has increased on low availability of Argentinean products, he said.

As a direct consequence, prices of the product has increased from €5.70 in 2015 to €7.20 in 2016, and will continue to rise as demand grows.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 12.50 p.m. CET

California readies for the end of El Nino

The California squid fishery consists of 67 purse seiners measuring between 17 and 28 meters. A small fleet that can be easily managed, said Joe Capuccio, president of Del Mar Seafoods.

One hundred percent of the volumes are frozen on land, as off shore processing is not allowed in the area.

Over the last two years, landings have been low due to a strong El Nino, as of October, 2016, volumes for the year amount to some 25,000 metric tons, but this is expected to change in the coming months as El Nino leaves the Californian coast.

“Since we don’t have the volumes, we have to make up with prices,” said Capuccio. “Currently, the fishery needs revenue of $65 million to be viable.”

With an unlimited number of processors, and operated under an olympic system -- where vessels catch as much as they can until they reach the quota, with no individual allocation -- the fishery is moving towards a more integrated model. There is a current shift to processor owning vessels, and currently only half of the fleet remains independent.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 12.15 p.m. CET

Positive outlook in the US East Coast

Atlantic giant squid fisheries are well managed in the East Coast of the United States, with conservative quotas in place, said Jeff Kaelin, Government Relations manager at Lund's and member of the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Council.

Landings have been well below quotas for the last 11 years, the amount we take is a very low percentage of what’s available.

With a healthy and increasing demand from the US and European markets, the “we expect continued productivity,” Kaelin said.

The fishery has been allowed to proceed into the MSC full assessment after a successful pre-assessment by the SCS.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 11.25 a.m. CET

Peru calls for squid yearly biomass assessment

In the first nine months of 2016, Peru landed 103,000 metric tons of giant squid, down 60 percent from 250,000 metric tons landed by this time a year earlier, said Alejandro Daly, manager of the Peru’s National Society of Industries (SNI).

Within this market, frozen giant squid accounts for the largest share, but a lack of scientific estimation of biomass levels is damaging the fishery.

At his presentation at the World Congress of Cephalopods, Daly called for the Instituto del Mar del Peru (Imarpe) to conduct a yearly assessment of giant squid’s biomass, with the final goal of earning an international certification for the fishery.

Again, exports account for the most important activity for this fishery, Daly said, adding the country is promoting domestic consumption of the product.

To do so, he said, the country is investing in new value-added production (VAP).

Currently, Peruvian squid is mainly exported to China (33 percent) Spain, and Korea.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 10.45 a.m. CET

Why is Chile falling behind its fellow giant squid producers?

In Chile, the main challenges in the management of giant squid relate to the scientific knowledge of the fisheries, the lack of measures to allocate stocks, the surpass of fisheries capacity, and a lack of awareness in responsible fishing.

According to Leonardo Sasso, Cabinet Chief, Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Chile, the country is also facing a lack of cooperation between committees and different stakeholders of the fisheries.

Currently Chile is looking for new markets, investing in new technologies, and developing new programs, Sasso said.

But the country is confident it has some opportunities in this field, and is working towards an industrial and artisanal growth, targeting both domestic and international consumption. 

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Monday, Oct. 3, 10.45 a.m. CET

China leads the way in Argentinean squid demand

Atlantic giant squid accounts 50 percent of world’s landings of this species, of this, an important portion comes from the South Atlantic, said Juan Manuel Redini, from the Chamber of Giant Squid Ship Owners of Argentina (CAPA).

Giant squid is the third largest fishery in Argentina, after hake and Argentinan shrimp, Redini said.

In 2016, within Argentina’s EEZ, 60 fishing vessels to the north of the 44 parallel brought in 27,642 metric tons of giant squid, to the south of the parallel,  59 vessels landed a total 25,869 metric tons, coming to overall landings of 53,511 metric tons in the country’s EEZ.

Although the main importer of Argentinean giant shrimp has historically been Spain, China is positioning itself as the world’s largest buyer of this product, its demand exceeded for the first time Spain’s imports in 2008, and again in 2013, and ever since.

In 2016, only 19 percent of the vessels fishing in the South Atlantic are Argentinean, while 81 percent are foreign ships.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 9.45 a.m. CET

A positive message

“It is possible to restore fish stocks to healthy levels,” said Audun Lem, Deputy Director, Policy and Resources Division (FAO).

There’s worrying data showing fish, especially cephalopod populations are dropping, but there are ways of restructuring fisheries.

There’s three basic pillars to sustainability, environment, social care and economic growth.

The FAO celebrated the 20th anniversary of the code of conduct in 2015, focused on these three core matters.

While the environment has been the focus of attention for every fishery in the past years, social issues are gaining importance.

In terms of economic growth, fisheries pose a positive look for the world.

Despite volatile prices since 2008, the FAO expects a significant rise in prices in 2016, explained by an increase in demand.

In terms of trade, fisheries account for 50.4 percent of the world’s exports total value, above exports of poultry, or any meat product, and expectations are that this trend will continue to rise.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 9.30 a.m. CET

Cephalopod sector: A global powerhouse

Manuel Barange, head of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division (FIA), welcomed delegates at the opening of the World Congress on Cephalopods.

Following his introduction, Juan Maneiro, general director of Marine Resources at the Regional Government of Galicia, reminded attendees of the importance of prioritizing the cephalopod fishery.

Galicia is the largest processor of marine resources in the European Union, and counts on cephalopods as one of its main fisheries, with its fleet harvesting around the world.

Galicia imported 78,000 metric tons of cephalopods in 2015, primarily giant squid and squid.

"With its experience in fisheries management, Galicia can talk about recovery strategies for these species," Maneiro said.

Galician fleets catch the resources across the world, but these fisheries need special attention, international markets, sustainability, research and development will be the core topics of the day’s discussions.

-- Lola Navarro

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