The fishing sector has yet to see the hoped-for recovery of seafood sales and prices as the HoReCa sector is gradually re-opened. Sales are estimated to have dropped by 10% as demand remains low for restaurant species including shellfish, sea bream and turbot, while prices have remained low for hake, megrim and monkfish.
Spanish fishing vessel operators’ organisation CEPESCA, retailers’ body FEDEPESCA and fishermen’s guilds federation FNCP are encouraging consumers to prioritise buying legal, sustainable and healthy fish from Spanish vessels to fill the gap while the restaurant and hotel trade has yet to recover.
These organisations all recognise that the economic crisis and the measures taken to slow the spread of Covid-19 could have serious repercussions for the industry as a whole in future.
In the light of the possibility that this could be a deeper and harsher recession than in 2008, these three organisations state they they trust that the European Union will take note of the Spanish government’s requests and increase the percentage of quota that can be transferred from this year to 2021, as well as implementing EMFF in a way that helps to cope with the effects of the crisis on the fisheries sector.
The Spanish sector also requests compensation for workers and companies that have maintained their activity despite registering losses, including exemption from taxes (VAT, IAE, Personal Income Tax), rates and Social Security fees.
They report that in the absence of responses from the Ministry of Health regarding requests for authorisation to purchase Covid-19 testing kits, companies have been seeking their own solutions to carrying out testing to try to guarantee fishermen’s health.
The industry is also taking steps, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of Fisheries and the Spanish Embassies in third countries, to speed up the relief of crews on deep-sea fishing vessels that work in third-country waters and on the high seas, as crews working in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Mauritania, Peru, Papeete and other locations have yet to be relieved.