Blue crab, Cooperative Alliance demands compensation
Meeting at Masaf: urgent measures to financially support damaged fishing enterprises
04, Aug 2023
"We must act quickly to curb the advance of the blue crab that is infesting Italian lagoons and ponds, jeopardizing made in Italy fish production, key elements of the Mediterranean diet and the entire ecosystem". The red alert went off yesterday at the urgent working table convened in Rome at Masaf, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forests at the request of the Alliance of Fisheries and Aquaculture Cooperatives to understand what solutions to put in place against the yet another disaster for the sector, namely the infamous blue crab. Undersecretary Patrizio Giacomo La Pietra was present together with Ispra for the Ministry of the Environment, Ismea, Icrea, for Masaf.
"Urgent measures are needed to financially support the fishing companies severely damaged by what is to all intents and purposes a natural disaster -underlines Alleanza Cooperative Pesca-. Resources must be directed towards supporting the disposal costs, currently borne by the damaged tools and compensate those who have lost their products”.
“An important moment of discussion, the one with the undersecretary - explains Alleanza in a note - which we have requested given that the phenomenon is getting worse day by day. Even the seafood markets can no longer handle the huge supply of blue crabs and the price has plummeted. Therefore, even the road to selling the blue crab, which knows no other predators in nature other than man, is all uphill. The only viable way at the moment is to reduce the number of crabs through targeted fishing campaigns and arrange for their disposal, the cost of which is around one euro per kilo. Important figures if you consider that in an hour you can catch even 3 quintals”.
The blue crab is now proving to be a pest and harmful animal that also causes damage to tourism in regions such as Veneto and Emilia Romagna, the coastal strip of the Adriatic Sea, where the cost per day for its capture and disposal by fishermen of this sort of wild boar of the sea amounts to 100 thousand Euros, to save the productions.
This was reiterated by Alleanza Pesca present at the meeting at Masaf with the president Paolo Tiozzo at the head of the delegation of the sector who also recalled the losses suffered so far, equal to 50% of the harvest of mussels and clams from the lagoons of the Po Delta and the Goro, to those to come, given that the blue crab also eats juvenile fish, putting production for the next few years at risk.
“We asked the minister and the government for two strategies, one immediate and one long-term - says Tiozzo-. That is, that of activating a fund to support the costs of the disposal of crabs which are currently the responsibility of the fishermen. The second is to aim to create a supply chain from fishing to processing, up to consumption on restaurant tables, against the invasion of blue crabs. Because we are all involved, from the sea, to the table, from our families, to the tourists who enjoy our sea products, to marketing. At risk are hundreds of businesses and cooperatives, thousands of employees as well as the biodiversity of the affected area".
A request, that of a discussion table, confirmed by the Alliance in a document sent to Rome where the emergency numbers in the Po Delta in the Veneto Romagna region (Comacchio, Rosolina Porto Tolle, Goro and Porto Viro) are put in black and white, production hub of bivalve molluscs in Italy which employs 4,000 professional fishing and aquaculture companies, a real strategic asset for the economy of the municipalities.
The document also requests the launch of specific projects to study the biology of the species to identify the best strategies with which the "biological fight" could be more effective and to define a national plan for the control and numerical reduction of the alien species, introducing , by law, a self-defense mechanism for the farmer similar to the one put in place for the farmer's self-defense against wild boars.
The last request contained in the document, that of giving the possibility not only to fish blue crabs but also to place them on the market by creating a real supply chain, perhaps through the creation of specific start-ups. In this sense, the permit has already been granted by Rome in the areas concerned (see EFA News) but it is hoped that it will be extended to the whole national territory.