Fishing sector loses $60M
The industry has been shrinking over the last five years and lost more than $60 million over the last four years. To to make matters wor...
The industry has been shrinking over the last five years and lost more than $60 million over the last four years. To to make matters worse, there are no indication that this tendency is going to end any time soon. For example the fishing of anchovies, tuna and herring has diminished considerably.
The administrator of the Panama Aquatic Resources Authority ARAP (Autoridad de los Recursos Acuáticos de Panamá), Reynaldo Pérez Guardia said that the decline of the industry is due to the high costs of fuel that limited the departure of ships and the saturation of the traditional markets such as the United States and Europe.
Pérez Guardia added that the 16 fishing companies that operate in the country should find new markets in the south of the continent.
The fishing industry has been in trouble since 2003, said the president of the Producers and Exporters of Sea Products Association APEX (Asociación de Productores y Exportadores del Mar), Valerio De Sanctis.
He believes that the problem is more complex and other factors besides the price of fuel influence the decline, such as the increment of the protected zones in the country and the difficulties to obtain Tax Credits Certificates CAT (Certificados de Abono Tributario).
“There are so many protected zones now that you have to go further and further away to be able to fish and companies are facing problems due to the lack of incentives,” said De Sanctis.
He added that it is easy to talk about finding new markets, but hard to implement. To export to countries belonging to the Caribbean Community Countries (Caricom) it is necessary to pay a tariff of 40 percent and to Venezuela it is 20 percent.
Panama and Brazil signed an agreement last year to export Panamanian fish, but it has not been implemented yet due to fact that a technician from that country has not come to Panama to certify the labels.
More than 20,000 Panamanians work in the fishing industry and they are employed in 280 industrial vessels and 5,000 artisan crafts.
The environmentalist groups have another reason for the problem. According to the Mar Viva Foundation it is the excessive fishing and the exploitation of fish and shrimps during their breeding season, plus the effects of the global warming that are the real causes of the current situation of the fishing industry and there is no short term solution in sight.