Argentine red shrimp FIPs spring into action as landings surge

Published on
April 27, 2016

The Center for Development and Sustainable Fisheries (CeDePesca) held a joint press conference with key partners on Wednesday, 27 April at Seafood Expo Global to provide an update on the two fishery improvement projects (FIPs) with oversight over the Argentine red shrimp catch.

The international non-governmental organization helped form the on-shore Argentine red shrimp FIP in 2015 and launched the off-shore Argentine red shrimp FIP in February 2016 at Seafood Expo North America in Boston. Both FIPs are progressing well and meeting initial goals, said CeDePesca chair Ernesto Godelman.

“The on-shore FIP has finalized the first season and we have already collected valuable information about bycatch, which is under analysis right now,” Godelman said. “We expect that from April 2017, this fraction of the fishery could be certifiable.”

Landings of Argentine red shrimp, which has grown popular due to better recognition worldwide and a reputation for tasting particularly sweet, increased from less than 20,000 metric tons in 2005 to more than 140,000 metric tons in 2015. About 60 to 80 percent of the total catch is taken in the off-shore fishery, according to CeDePesca data.

The FIP has designed and implemented an onboard observers program for the coastal fleet – located off the coast of Chubut Province in Patagonia – and is in the process of performing a full assessment, following Marine Stewardship Council guidelines. It is also seeking to create a coordination protocol among the different jurisdictions involved in the fishery’s administration.

Due to its recent formation, Godelman had fewer updates regarding the off-shore FIP, but did say that while the fishery would pursue MSC certification, it was too soon to tell if it would be possible and when it might occur.

“In regard to the off-shore fleet, the FIP is just starting and the activities are planned for three years,” Godelman said. “It is too early to have a more precise idea about when this fraction could be certifiable.”

The off-shore FIP is still recruiting new members, though 14 locally-based companies and four foreign buyers have already joined, including Argentine fishing company Grupo Veraz and Germany’s Ristic BmgH.

“All major players in this fishery are involved with the FIP,” said Godelman. “The FIP partners are making most of it, and we are really confident that this support will be key to get the necessary reforms to have this fishery MSC-certifiable within a very reasonable term.”

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