Argentine red shrimp FIPs advancing, landings continue to increase

Published on
April 27, 2017

Both the onshore and offshore Argentine red shrimp fishery improvement projects (FIPs), launched in 2015 and 2016 respectively, are making strong progress and moving closer to fulfilling the goal of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.

The nonprofit Center for Development and Sustainable Fisheries (CeDePesca) and FIP partner group Shore (Shrimp Organisation Europe) provided an update on the two FIPs at a special meeting on Wednesday, 26 April at Seafood Expo Global.

Shore comprises leading European shrimp companies Morubel (Belgium), Ristic (Germany) and Telson (the Netherlands) as well as Costa Rican producer and processing firm Rainbow.

Ernesto Godelman, executive director of CeDePesca, said that a lot of advances had been made in the onshore sector with regard to improving research practices, understanding by-catch and habitat impacts and resolving compliance issues. It is now making good headway with improving the management systems, which he said is the most difficult stage of the FIP process. 

“The attitude of the fishing authorities has been very good. They are very positive and want this project to be a success,” Godelman said.

Along with partners, a decision will be taken in June whether to undergo another pre-assessment or whether further work is required, he said.

Progress on the offshore FIP, meanwhile, was slow last year, largely due to “coordination difficulties” with federal authorities, but the latest season started very well thanks to increased partner participation, he said.

However, recent information received from Argentina's Fisheries Research and Development Institute, INIDEP, has highlighted that the hake bycatch in this fishery increases in the last two months of the season and so work is now underway to find a solution to this particular challenge.

Landings of Argentine red shrimp have risen dramatically over the last 10 years – from less than 40,000 metric tons (MT) in 2006 to almost 160,000 MT in the 2016 season that closed last week. Of this total, the onshore fleet, which comprises vessels under 21 meters, landed around 30,000 MT, while the offshore catch amounted to 130,000 MT.

There are three species caught in Argentinian waters that already hold MSC certification – scallops, hoki and anchovy.

“We should do our utmost to ensure that Argentinian red shrimp is also MSC-certified. It is a necessity in my opinion and what the market wants,” said Edo Abels, CEO of Shore and managing director of Morubel.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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