The keys to whether there will be a shortage of prawns this Christmas

Enjoying Christmas this year will be a little more expensive. Inflation does not let up in the shopping basket and there are many Spaniards who have reduced the consumption of fresh food. However, according to data from the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors (AECOC), in the majority of homes an exception will be made during the holidays to get some typical fresh Christmas product.

Among them, the prawns cannot be missing, which are common at tables throughout Spain. In recent weeks, the alarm has been raised about this shellfish, not only because of the price it can reach when the Christmas holidays approach, but also due to a possible shortage.

The reason is the ban on fishing at depths of more than 400 meters in the Gulf of Cádiz, which especially affects the province of Huelva, but also that of Cádiz. The ban will be in force at least until April or May and it is difficult to predict how it will impact the Christmas season.

“In principle, when the regulation was published, there was a discrepancy as to whether fishing was prohibited in the areas located up to 400 meters deep, and the answer was no, this meant that the small shrimp fishing grounds were safe. But not the large shrimp, because they are more than 400 meters away”, explains Alonso Abreu, Manager of the Punta del Moral Shipowners Association (Huelva). “ANDThis is the shrimp that is traditionally eaten in summer or now at Christmas”, he adds about the largest one.

Abreu points out that to face the veto they have to “try it in the rest of the areas to see if it is profitable” and that they still cannot guarantee what quantities they will handle in the coming weeks. ”With fishing you never know, it’s not an exact science. What can happen? In recent years there has been a lot of it but this year there seems to be a lot less overall. So there are fewer in general and we also have fewer fishing grounds to fish”, reflects the owner.

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Port of Ayamonte, in Huelva.

In Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz), another of the areas affected by the veto, they are optimistic but cautious about the evolution of the situation. “There will not be a shortage of shrimp. It is a problem of loss of fishing ground, so the ship will have to go to the contiguous areas. In the Gulf of Cádiz they have closed three areas, so you have to search in the others and the boats have to move in a kind of corridors. But in the short term there will not be a shortage of shrimp, it is possible that in the long term we will see something different,” says José Carlos Macías, a technician from the Sanlúcar de Barrameda Fishermen’s Association.

Macías explains that the shrimp fishing campaign began on November 1 because until then they were on biological strike and, in these first weeks, “the product is arriving.” The technician points out that in the estuaries of the area today there is an invasion of the blue crab that is feeding on what it finds and that it may cause that in the future there will be less quantity of some species such as shrimp, although not in the short term. term.

“We are not going to have the problem that there has been, for example, with shrimp for some time, that it has not been and that we have had a lot of shortages in recent years due to issues such as blue crab or water quality and it has made us pay shrimp at very high prices”, says Macías.

Felipe Carmona, skipper of a boat from Ayamonte (Huelva) does believe that there will be less supply. “I am the skipper of a boat and I can’t be clever either, but I think there will be a shortage of shrimp because now the fishing area is smaller,” he defends, while taking the opportunity to show his disagreement with the veto.

“I agree that you have to take care of the sea, but it happens to it like the land, if it isn’t plowed… The part that they have cut, if they don’t move it, it rots. The rules are there to be met, although I think they don’t do it well, ”she insists.

Will the price go up in the next few weeks?

Although a major shortage or a noticeable shortage is ruled out, the fact that there is less product and at the same time more demand for the Christmas holidays can cause the price of shrimp to rise. “Yes, it will go up,” says Alonso Abreu, who also reveals that all the shellfish caught by his boats stays in Spain since they are not sold abroad.

For his part, José Carlos Macías, who believes that the prawns will be more expensive, “but they will be the usual increases at other times”, nothing exceptional. “The small shrimp is now at three euros per kilo, while the large one is at 25.28 euros”, explains the technician.

A tray of prawns in a fish market in Cádiz.

Photo by Rafa Elias via Getty Images

A tray of prawns in a fish market in Cádiz.

These are figures similar to those handled by Felipe Carmona. “The shrimp right now is not so expensive, it is three, four euros per kilo. We are selling it cheap, another thing is that in the market or in the supply square they then sell it for ten a kilo”, defends the shipowner.

In addition, Carmona does not believe that the demand for fresh shrimp is going to be a problem. “People already buy frozen shrimp. The message is that there is no money, so people go directly to the frozen, ”she laments.

Despite the fact that the fishermen are not selling more expensive than normal, the Spanish have noticed an increase in seafood prices, both fresh and frozen. Specifically, 9% and 8.1% respectively according to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Given these possible price variations, the advice is the same as in other Christmases: anticipate purchases and freeze.


Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.

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