Horse mackerel fishing. (Photo: NOAA)
Corpesca assesses further adjustments
Wednesday, July 04, 2012, 01:50 (GMT + 9)
The largest fishing company in Chile, Corpesca SA, faces the worst year in a decade. As a result of lower horse mackerel quotas and catches until May about USD 15 million was lost.
Two issues focus most of the attention on the fishing industry at this time: the reduction of sea resources and horse mackerel catch quota, and the definition of the General Fisheries Act in Congress.
In this context, Corpesca general manager and the president of the Association of Industrial Fishing Vessels from the North (Asipnor), Francisco Mujica, told La Tercera that the company could face new adjustments.
The cuts in horse mackerel fishing quotas and the decline in anchovy catches due to environmental and oceanographic conditions contribute to Corpesca´s "complicated" situation, Mujica recognised.
"This year, with the current fishing conditions, seems to be the worst in the decade for Corpesca," he pointed out.
Last year, the company processed about 30 per cent of the horse mackerel catches in Chile while in 2012 it had not exceeded 20 per cent.
For 2012, Corpesca has a quota of 530,000 tonnes of anchovy and 30,000 tonnes of horse mackerel.
"About 160,000 tonnes of anchovy and 10,000 tonnes of horse mackerel were captured because there is nothing left. Up to this month last year, Corpesca had caught 440,000 tonnes of anchovy and of horse mackerel, almost the same," Mujica recalled.
He added: "This is a company that works with tonnage. If it fails, it is obvious that there are losses."
Nearly 75 per cent of Corpesca fleet has been stopped for two months but this situation could change if the resource suddenly appears after May, as it was the case in 2011.
The executive also questioned the fact that with the planned bids of fisheries resources under the new Fisheries Act, it is not "possible to make up for bad years as this one with the good years." "We are financially destroyed and eventually the fishing industry is reduced to a minimum," he regretted.
Mujica admitted that the company had to start a "painful" adjustment process.
In May Tocopilla plant was closed in Antofagasta Region, representing between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of its production, about 80,000 tonnes annually, and the company does not rule out further adjustments.
Despite the complicated scenario, Mujica states they have "reserves and other businesses that are coming out."
"The idea is to open additional areas to the fishing zone. We are always considering other fields designed to supply the protein market, especially aquaculture, and to add value to the fish oil sector," he pointed out.
In early June, the head of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries (Subpesca), Pablo Galilea, recalled that Chile does not decide the fishing quota unilaterally but it does so "together with the countries of the Regional Fisheries Organisation of the South Pacific (ORP)."
And he noted in this regard: "While the evidence indicates that this year there has been a greater availability of horse mackerel in Chilean waters, we have no scientific information to ensure that there is a change in biomass of horse mackerel. The higher number would, apparently, be due to a natural phenomenon and not to an increase in the biomass."
- Corpesca feel 'first lash' of the lower horse mackerel quota
By Analia Murias