Canary Islands' bream, bass, sole production lags
By Chris Dove, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain
25 September, 2012
Regarded as having perfect oceanographic conditions for breeding bream, bass and sole, producers in Spain’s Canary Islands are experiencing their worst production levels in four years.
The Canary Islands archipelago lies 1,700 kilometers from the Spanish mainland as a group of seven major islands off the northwest coast of Africa.
An Autonomous Community with independent decision-making powers, the regional administration’s lack of a clear commitment to boost business, provide tools to actively regulate the location of farms and provide effective management systems have been blamed.
Production has fallen from 8,000 metric tons (MT) valued at EUR 27.5 million (USD 34.4 million) to the current 6,000 MT in little more than three years.
In March 2011, the Islands embarked on a EUR 9.2 million (USD 11.8 million) European AQUAEXCEL project scheduled to end in March 2015 that would “corner the market” with new “rapid growth” aquaculture species including flounder, porgy, sea bass, tuna, amberjack, horse mackerel and mollusks such as abalone.
However, after years of indecision, failure to implement the Regional Management Plan for Aquaculture is an overriding factor. Low production profitability, small company sizes, lack of preparation and business mismanagement highlight further problems.
Pressure is also said to come from the islands’ hospitality lobby, especially in Tenerife, focused on the Costa Adeje and coastal town of Los Gigantes.
The regional administration’s mismanagement of sole and sea bass production, in particular, has seen the closure of half of the 29 companies operating in the archipelago.
The solution suggested by José Joaquín Bethencourt, fisheries minister at Tenerife Council, requires sector concentration as fragmentation makes entrepreneurial activity unviable.
25 September, 2012