Some crab fishermen do not survive a year

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The demand for crabs is still high among consumers. Still, the crab fishermen face a bleak future.

Ditzum (dpa) – The crab fishermen on the German North Sea are losing income because of the corona pandemic – and for some it will be tight from the perspective of the producers.

“Occasionally, companies have already gone bankrupt, others are still struggling,” said the managing director of the producer group of German crab fishermen, Kai-Arne Schmidt. The reason is the reduced production in the Moroccan peeling centers to almost 30 percent. Much of the North Sea shrimp is poultry-fed there. «Morocco is the bottleneck. The fatal thing is that there is a great need: The consumer asks about the product, which is no longer available in stores, »said Schmidt.

The dealers buy fewer crabs because they cannot be processed further. Therefore, the almost 100 fishing vessels belonging to the producer group from Sylt (Schleswig-Holstein) to Ditzum in East Frisia currently only go out three days a week, according to Schmidt. «The crab fishermen are now actually catching their money – in August, September, October, November. If you can’t fish properly in the times, you won’t survive the winter. »

The fisheries adviser of the Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture, Hilke Looden, said: “Compared to last year, which was an exceptional year, we had 30 percent fewer landings in Lower Saxony in the first half of June.” In 2019, trade was restricted almost all year round because the stocks in 2018 were still full. At the same time, prices were depressed as a result.

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