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COVID-19: CEPESCA, FEDEPESCA and FNCP guarantee the supply of fish

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Thursday, April 09, 2020, 06:30 (GMT + 9)


CEPESCA, the National Federation of Fishermen's Guilds and FEDEPESCA, join the crisis committee to report on the activity of fleets, markets, markets and supplies


  • Many fleets are still active and recovering some losses in the Mediterranean
  • Prices at first sale, with ups and downs, are recovering
  • Fresh hake is confirmed as the most demanded species in quarantine

Madrid - The National Federation of Provincial Associations of Retail Entrepreneurs of Fish and Frozen Products, FEDEPESCA, and the National Federation of Fishermen's Associations, FNCP, have joined the Crisis Committee of the Spanish fishing sector, promoted by the Spanish Fisheries Confederation ( CEPESCA), to monitor and report on the situation of the fishing activity of the Spanish fleets, fish markets and markets, and ensure the supply of fish products to the population during the period of confinement decreed as a result of the COVID crisis -19.

Photo: La Voz de Galicia

Likewise, the committee will ensure the safety of workers in the fishing sector who have expressed their willingness to continue fishing, as well as that of distributors and other marketing professionals who are still operating, for which it will pay special attention to the dissemination and Awareness among its members of all those regulations and protocols of action, both current and future, to face COVID-19 in the exercise of the activity, as well as its compliance and application, and to demand the appropriate protection measures for the workers of the fishing chain. The Committee understands that, as it is an essential sector, the public administration should guarantee the distribution of Epis for all operators in the sector.

General Situation

Once the information was collected from the different fleets, brotherhoods, markets and retailers, it can be concluded that around 50% of the ships and crews, as well as practically the entire distribution sector, are still active. Casualties due to coronaviruses are practically negligible in both the high and low sea fleets. However, inshore and offshore crews, as well as fishing vessel owners still face difficulties of various kinds. In the national fishing ground, fishing organizations continue to demand masks and personal protective equipment to guarantee safety against the virus on boats and fish markets. Regarding deep sea fishing, to solve the problems that are generated to carry out the crew relays in third countries due to the confinement and the state of alarm decreed by their governments, Europêche has sent the European Commission a list of ports international companies in which EU fishing vessels usually unload and has asked it to take the necessary steps to facilitate these relays.

Photo: stockfile

Although many of the vessels that fish in the national fishing ground were forced to stop in the first instance, especially in the Mediterranean and in the Gulf of Cádiz - between 50 and 70% of the fleet has not been going out to work since The state of alarm was decreed, as well as partially in the Cantabrian Northwest, in recent days there is a return to the sea of ​​some of these ships that were stopped as they perceived greater tranquility regarding the risks of contagion and the finding that prices at first sale are stabilizing.

It has also happened that four purse seiners from Barbate have gone fishing in Moroccan waters for the first time this year, making good catches and selling at a good price. And in the Cantabrian Sea, as reported by the FNCP, except for the shellfish, most of the fleets remain active.

Photo: stockfile

Regarding deep sea fishing, of the Gran Sol fleet, made up of about 70 units, –2,150 crew and 10,750 direct and indirect positions–, 95% continue to fish, mainly hake, rooster and monkfish, selling the same in fish markets Spanish. With regard to the national freezer fleets that fish outside the EU waters, the vast majority continue to fish, except for the Basque pole-and-line fishermen who fish in Senegal and who have been forced to stop as their Senegalese crews are prohibited from traveling within their country.

Morale is still quite high among high-altitude and high-altitude crews, although concerned about the situation of their relatives on the ground. The ships try not to go to port to avoid contagions and, when they do, they unload with extraordinary security measures to avoid contact with other people. In inshore fleets, the feeling of insecurity is also being cushioned, thanks, in part, to private donations, such as the washable masks provided by a Murcian company.

Photo: stockfile

Distribution. The large provincial Mercas (wholesalers markets) remain open and active, as do the main fish markets throughout the country, although it is true that those affected by the fleets that have stopped in the Mediterranean and NE Cantabrian have closed. Even so, the distribution of fish to retail stores and markets remains virtually unchanged.

The operation of fishermen, fish markets and markets, wholesalers, transporters and retailers, confirms that there is no problem of fish supply nor, except for some very specific and specific species, it is expected that there will be, to which they contribute, along with fishing in fresh, frozen merchandise stocks.

Sales Both in the fish markets, as well as in the markets and the fishmongers, sales by phone and online are prevailing, which has triggered home delivery, while direct sales have recovered somewhat. There is rigorous compliance with the security measures imposed, as confirmed by the extraordinary health inspections carried out by the different autonomous administrations. On average, it can be said that physical store sales represent 25% compared to 75% of home sales. The specialized trade has made a great effort to promote sales online, by phone and WhatsApp and distribute it at home to facilitate the consumption of fresh fish products.

Photo: stockfile

Prices. Initially, with the closure of the HORECA channel and the disappearance of tourism, the prices of seafood and fish that go mainly to restaurants, such as sea bream, sank, falling more than 70%. These prices have not yet recovered, as demand continues to be very low. However, with respect to the most common fish for domestic consumption caught by the inshore fleet, the prices at first sale, which initially fell a lot - around 50% on average -, are recovering a little and are relatively stable due to the reduction in supply caused by a decrease in the number of vessels that continue to fish, despite the fact that the number of buyers in the fish market has also decreased.

With regard to the prices at first sale of the species caught by the Gran Sol fleet, such as hake, rooster or monkfish, it has been possible to verify great instability in demand. On average, it can be said that the price of these species, which fell by almost half between March 16 and 23, has been recovering. Frozen fish prices are generally stable. However, the prices of frozen seafood continue to sink, as do those of swordfish (-20%) and blue shark (-38%).

Regarding the final point of sale, also in the traditional fishmongers of the different autonomous communities, prices are adapted according to the prices in origin and in the wholesale markets, which are set daily according to supply and demand. In large stores, there is a reduction in the sale of highly perishable products, such as fish, but in the traditional channel, fresh fish maintains its sales levels to the final consumer.


Species. Fresh hake, in different sizes, is confirmed as the most demanded fish in quarantine. This species leads sales, followed by monkfish, rooster, sea bass, mackerel, whiting, bream and salmon. The worst stopped species are the usual ones in the restaurant sector, such as sea bream and shellfish.



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