Spain pledges support for fisheries, aquaculture

Seafood took center stage this week as the United States and Europe hosted the World Seafood Congress in Washington, D.C., and Conxemar International Frozen Seafood Products Exhibition in Vigo, Galicia, Spain. 

Conxemar is an annual event supported by the Spanish Association of Wholesalers, Importers, Manufacturers and Exporters of Fish Products and Fish Farming.

Speaking at Conxemar 2011, Spain’s Fisheries Minister Rosa Aguilar expressed “maximum support” from the government for the production, processing and marketing of seafood products and aquaculture “in these times of difficult global crisis,” congratulating Conxemar’s “impeccable organization as a fundamental instrument of union in the frozen seafood sector in our country.”

Aguilar applauded Conxemar’s ability to assemble a fishing industry which, “in view of its turnover, wealth and employment generation has adapted to changes and taken a foothold in domestic and international markets.”

Placing emphasis on the sector as “a clear example of how the phenomenon of globalization and internationalization can offer new options for the future,” Aguilar said it was fundamental “to follow the path of sustainable development, quality and food safety to ensure market stability and reasonable prices,” noting “the need to increase the competitiveness of companies’ expectations and open new prospects for our excellent products.”

In addition, the minister stressed that the seafood supply should be guaranteed “from the sustainable management of marine resources, where traceability is warranty for the origin and tracking of products throughout the food chain, where compliance is exercised by all countries to international standards.”

Aguilar reiterated that products marketed in the European Union, regardless of their origin, “must meet the health requirements of the community market,” insisting that “Spain has been working and demanding reciprocity as a key issue for competitiveness.” ??Pointing out current debates regarding a new Common Fisheries Policy, the minister stated that the Spanish government is “used to funding the defense of the entire sector” with the active participation of domestic operators and “in Europe building the necessary alliances to strengthen our position,” expressing the need for a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable policy “as the three pillars for our future.”

Aguilar gave her support to Conxemar “to remain with the same force as a benchmark for the sector of processed and frozen seafood products and internationally recognized aquaculture.”

Conxemar 2011 covers some 35,000 square meters of floor space, hosting 520 exhibitors from 39 countries and welcoming some 45,000 seafood professionals. Three out of 10 exhibitors are foreign companies, and this year’s event attracted a dozen international organizations including, for the first time, Panama and Argentina.

Making a stand for sustainable seafood, Iceland Responsible Fisheries and ICE Salt Fish Association invited buyers to their Vigo workshop to promote Icelandic salt fish in particular under its Responsible Fisheries marketing program.

Conxemar concluded with José Manuel Barbosa, president of the Pontevedra Hotel Association in Galicia, considering the arrival of Seafood Barcelona in northwest Spain next year, alluding to Barcelona’s “better communications and greater international projection.”


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