Shellfish from Galicias estuaries. (Photo: Juan Murias)
Shellfish season begins with low prices
Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
The shellfish industry of the Vigo estuary resumed the activity after having stopped for almost two months but the low prices they get for their products cause great disappointment among fishermen.
In the market in Vigo, which brings together all the associations in the area, each kilogram of grooved carpet shell was sold for a price between EUR 12 and EUR 22.90 while the performance of the Manila clam was "very bad" as it fluctuated between EUR 4 and EUR 4.50 per kg. The shellfish industry expected the price of the Manila clam would reach about EUR 7.
Meanwhile, the presence of the yellow carpet shell was "practically testimonial" and was quoted at EUR 5.
Only cockles have offered some peace: they are traded between EUR 3 and EUR 5.90 per kg.
According to the secretary of the Association of Moaña, Luis Sequeiros, "the reality is that on weekends, people do not buy shellfish as before due to the crisis."
With regard to the fleet, about 45 boats from the Association of Moaña and about 9 vessels from the fleet of Cangas went fishing for shellfish.
For Sequeiros, not only low prices are registered but also there is shortage of shellfish and not all the boats returned with the top of the quota, the newspaper Faro de Vigo reported.
"We all expected a much better start to the season, but this is a disaster. The estuary is exhausted," he added.
The problem of the sector was raised in early 2012 by the association of Cangas, Vilaboa and Redondela to the Ministry of Marine Affairs of the Xunta de Galicia.
However, in March the autonomous Government decided the stoppage will extend between April and May 2012.
In addition, the Galician Administration undertook to conduct a study of banks, but at present the associations deny such an initiative.
From the beginning of the year and until the closing of the shellfish season -- in April --Moaña traded 2,073 kg of grooved carpet shell at an average price of EUR 15.86, from a minimum of EUR 11.55 to a maximum of EUR 30.
Meanwhile, 4,543 kg of yellow carpet shell were sold, at an average price of EUR 7.2; 9,648 kg of Manila clam was traded for EUR 43,402 and 4,283 kg of cockles was sold for EUR 17,008.
The manager of the Association of Cangas, David Fernández, complained about the low prices and warned that "the situation is critical" because it "is going through one of the most difficult times in recent years."
On the other hand, Pablo Silva, a retired Galician shellfish producer, invented a device to make catches easier from the boats and to raise the bar with less effort.
Silva designed a "very simple" mechanical arm that may be helpful to keep the tradition and prevent workers from having open injuries in hands and shoulders, La Opinion reported.
The device simulates the movement made by man, that is to say, by those "men who fish well," he stressed.
- Shellfish exploitation plan starts up
By Analia Murias