Tuesday 29th June 2021 – VICENTE BOLUFER with Mike Smith
The provincial fishing sector caught around 11,374 tonnes of fresh fish and shellfish in 2020, a figure that represents 53,4% of all the total catch in the Communidad Valenciana and the regional trend is that sales have increased by 2.5% over the last year, despite the difficult health and economic situation being felt globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alicante’s Central Market was the place chosen by COINCOPESCA – the Interfederation Commission of the Fishermen’s Guilds – to mark this occasion during which is also aimed to raise awareness among the people of Xàbia of the importance of buying local products, those caught in Dénia, Xàbia, Moraira, Calp, Altea, Villajoyosa, El Campello, Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura and Torrevieja, which represent 11 of around 20 fishermen’s guilds that exist in the Comunidad Valenciana. All of them work under the guarantee brand ‘Peix de Llotja’ which is managed by COINCOPESCA, a proposal that emerged in 2017 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climatic Emergency and Ecological Transition, in collaboration with the provincial federations of the fishermen’s guilds of the Comunidad Valenciana.
At the event, the General-Director of Agrilculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Generalitat Valenciana, Antonio Quintana, said that the ‘Peix de Llotja‘ brand “identifies our proximity product, which is fished by our fishermen and landed in our ports, and we must give continuity to a whole tradition of sustainable millenary fishing in the Mediterranean area and especially in the province of Valencia”.
The president of the provincial federation of fishermen in Alicante, Nacho Llorca, claimed that “we have been fishing for fish and seafood ‘zero kilometre’ for centuries and it is a product that complies with all the health and environmental requirements decreed by the European Union and, ultimately, it is fresh produce from our Mediterranean Sea which provides a guarantee of sustainability and health“.
The event was also attended by the Councillor for Commerce and Hospitality in Alicante, Lidia López, as well as various representatives from COINCOPESCA in the region and across the rest of the Comunidad Valenciana.
In the case of the Alicante Province, the work of the fishermen generated a total of 50 million euros, thanks to the efforts of 269 vessels that carry out fishing tasks on the high seas; 5 from Alicante, 17 from Altea, 3 from Benidorm, 18 from Calp, 8 from Campello, 29 from Dénia, 10 from Guardamar del Segura, 7 from Tabarca Island, 18 from Jávea, 3 from Moraira, 90 from Santa Pola, 11 from Torrevieja, and 46 from Villajoyosa. By species, the most caught off the coast of Alicante are, in order, anchovies, sardines, red mullet and sea bass.
The ‘Peix de Llotja’ badge aims to give value and recognition to workers in a sector that provides employment to about 8,000 people, of which 3,000 do so through direct jobs. Through the 588 vessels of the Comunidad Valenciana, it is possible to land more than 22,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish along more than 500 kilometres of coastline in the Comunidad Valenciana.
Currently, more than 8,000 men and women in the Comunidad Valenciana are engaged in fishing, directly or indirectly. During 2020, more than 350 vessels collected tens of thousands of tonnes of fresh fish and their future has become uncertain due to the restrictions that are imposed by Brussels. The fishing sector in the region is threatened by the measures of the new Multi-Year Management Plan adopted by the European Union which proposes limiting the maximum number of fishing days for each type of fleet whilst also restricting the activity of trawlers when the seabed is up to 100 metres deep. For this reason, whilst supporting local products, it is also more important than ever to buy ‘Peix de Llotxa‘.
Peix de Llotja: a seal of guarantee and sustainability
‘Peix de Llotja‘ is a guarantee brand of the Comunidad Valenciana that is managed by COINCOPESCA in which its members collect the products in a sustainable and respectful way to the environment. The ‘Peix de Llotja‘ is an ecological and zero kilometre product in which that the distance between the catch and provision is reduced, meaning a decrease in CO2 emissions from transport. Fish and shellfish from the market are a guarantee of freshness and sustainability in which a commitment is established by the sector and all the workers who make fishing and distribution possible.
From Torrevieja to Vinarós, the different guilds buy fresh, tasty, health and sustainable seasonal food, which will be part of the indigenous culture as well as a health and balanced gastronomy.