Shrimp sector under threat
The economist Adolfo Quintero said that the decrease in shrimp exports was due to China. Panama is currently in direct competition with ...
The economist Adolfo Quintero said that the decrease in shrimp exports was due to China. Panama is currently in direct competition with that country for the U.S. market.
Quintero said that for producers to continue to survive they should sell only quality products at competitive prices.
The other problem the industry has is that the traditional fishing spots are disappearing and fishermen have to find new places, many of which are out of bounds, because they are near to national parks.
According to the Panama Aquatic Resources Authority ARAP (Autoridad de los Recursos Acuáticos de Panamá), the shrimp sector has been under pressure for some time due to the indiscriminate cutting of mangrove, climate change and the contamination of the seas, which has caused the diminution in number of crustaceans in Panamanian waters.
Every year ARAP in order to preserve this natural resource, prohibits the fishing of shrimp from February 1 to April 11 and from September 1 to October 11. However recent developments around the coastal areas has caused problems for fishermen that currently experience difficulties finding shrimps in their normal areas.
The president of the Products from the Sea Association, Valerio de Sanctis said that this year the industry is going to feel the effects of the global financial crisis, but it would be less severe in Panama than in other parts of the world, mainly because the banking sector is more conservative and measures have been taken to prevent a financial meltdown, such as the billion dollar loan obtained by the government to protect businesses and jobs.
Sanctis added that the shrimp sector this year is going to face great obstacles to keep itself afloat, especially taking into account that the fishing of shrimp will stop in six days time.
Although the shrimp sector is doing poorly, other areas of the fishing industry are doing well such as the export of frozen yellow tuna fins, fresh fish and fish fillets.
According to the National Comptroller in 2008, the fishing industry has recovered slightly since 2007.
The fishing industry has been in trouble since the beginning of the millennium and it could take a long time before it manages to go back to its previous levels, or before fishermen decide to permanently abandon the activity.