Some thirty Mauritanian octopus containers reached Galicia in the last month. (Photo: Andy Atzert / FIS)
'Over exploitation' of Mauritanian octopus casts doubt among Galician entrepreneurs
Friday, January 25, 2013, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
The company Frigalsa in the port of Vigo received 12 containers of frozen octopus from Mauritania this week. Thus, there are more than 30 containers with African cephalopod fishery that arrived last month, which are now stored in Galician cold storage rooms.
"Ten days ago more than 26 containers arrived," Galician shipowner Manuel Nores told newspaper Faro de Vigo.
Galician businessmen argue that, facing these downloads, the statement of the Commissioner of Fisheries of the European Union (EU), Maria Damanaki, on Mauritanian octopus overexploitation seems to lose weight.
Damanaki had assured the industry that the new fisheries agreement signed between the EU and Mauritania did not include the operation of the Galician cephalopod fleet in the local fishing grounds due to overexploitation of this resource.
Therefore, the European Commissioner explained that the catch quota should be lowered "to zero".
Galician cooling sector sources said that catches are made in Mauritanian flagged vessels, however, the country's industrial fleet is registered in third countries, mainly in China.
The biggest Galician cooling company, Rosa de los Vientos (based in Marin port), also confirmed that it is importing frozen octopus on a "regular" basis.
"We bought it on land," said a company’s spokesperson, and anticipated that they are awaiting the arrival of another container.
The fishing industry argues that the sector "needs supplies” because demand "is not covered with what is fished in Galicia and Portugal".
"We used to buy supplies from the boats here, but they were cast out," commented sources of the Galician company.
Meanwhile, Marisol Landriz of the Marketers Association of the Port of Vigo (Acopevi), clarified that they only import frozen octopus: "We haven’t received any fresh supply," she said.
Furthermore, the sailors affected by the closure of the fishery in Mauritania intend to meet with the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, before 19 February, when the new bilateral commission will hold a meeting to negotiate the fishing pact, EFE reported.
According to CIG-Mar’s representative, Xabier Aboi, they are "getting to the final battle." He explained that there is no alternative to Mauritanian waters, because the other African countries either have very little grounds (Gambia), or are closed for political reasons (such as Guinea-Bissau), or require joint ventures (Senegal).
- Galician sector's resounding rejection to EU-Mauritania agreement
By Analia Murias