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ATLANTIC NORTH WEST (Newfoundland Coast)

ATLANTIC EASTERN CENTRAL (Mauritanian Coast)

ATLANTIC SOUTH EAST (Namibian Coast)

ATLANTIC SOUTH WEST (Patagonian Shelf)

RACIFIC NORTH EAST (Aleutian and US West Coast)

PACIFIC NORTH WEST (Bering Sea)

PACIFIC SOUTH EAST (Peruvian EEZ)

BALTIC SEA (Polish EEZ)

Fig. 13.4 Distribution of catches over fishing areas, 1970-The second big shift in fishing operations

After the first shock in the late 1970s, the Polish fishery reclaimed its ability to operate in distant waters in the 1980s. However, the institutional and economic terms of catches started, again, to deteriorate. First, the terms of cooperation with the Peruvian enterprises were becoming more costly. When the royalties became unacceptably high, Poland declined to renew the annual contract. The joint venture was declared nonoperational in 1984 and was dissolved in 1985.

Second, the stocks close to the Namibian coast (Atlantic Southeast area), where no EEZ existed, were heavily exploited by numerous vessels of different countries. The size of fish and its price were gradually declining. As signs of overfishing became evident, scientists recommended cutbacks in catches. Poland thereby sus-

statistical areas).
Fig. 13.6 Deployment of fishing effort by areas in 1980 (in fishing days in seven statistical areas).

pended its fishing operations in the area for a period of five years or until the time when an EEZ would be declared by an independent Namibia. The overall scope of withdrawals by the Polish fishery during the so-called second wave is shown in Table 13.4.

As it appears from Table 13.4, the loss of potential catches in the Pacific Southeast and the Atlantic Southeast was estimated at 284,000 mt. It was compensated for by the redeployment of fishing effort to the North Pacific area (see Figs. 13.10 and 13.11).

146.6

Fig. 13.7 Distribution of Polish catches over main fishing areas in 1970 (in thousand metric tons of live weight).

I 20 60 100

200

300

400

Fig. 13.8 Distribution of Polish catches over main fishing areas in 1980 (in thousand metric tons of live weight).

Figure 13.12 illustrates the general direction of the so-called second big shift of the Polish fishing fleets. The second shift, as did the first, called for a number of additional expenses on the part of Poland in the form of: (1) direct input for fish scouting, and (2)

| 20 60 100

200

300

400

Fig. 13.7 Distribution of Polish catches over main fishing areas in 1970 (in thousand metric tons of live weight).

Fig. 13.9 The first big shift of the Polish fishing fleet (second half of the 1970s).

Table 13.4

Quantities of fish caught in the regions from which the Polish distant-water vessels had to retreat in the 1980s (in thousands of tons live weight)

Region

The last year prior to the establishment of the EEZs

Catch in the last year prior to the est. of EEZs

Catch extracted in 1983

Opportunities lost annually (average)

Pacific Southeast

Atlantic Southeast

TOTAL

1980

161.0

123.0 284.0

161.0

284.0 284.0

Fig. 13.10 Deployment of fishing effort by areas: 1988 (in fishing days upon three statistical areas).

Fig. 13.11 Distribution of Polish catches over main fishing areas, 1988 (in thousand metric tons of live weight).

120 60 100

200

300

400

Fig. 13.11 Distribution of Polish catches over main fishing areas, 1988 (in thousand metric tons of live weight).

negotiations coupled with payments for the right to fish in foreign EEZs.

It is difficult to envision the many additional shifts that must be carried out in the future and other measures that must be taken to keep the existing fleet operating.

Fig. 13.12 The second big shift of the Polish fishing fleet (second half of the 1980s).

Economic implications

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Polish fishery proved to be capable of overcoming many of the constraints and pitfalls resulting from the establishment of the EEZs. Distant-water vessels had not been stopped from exploiting living marine resources and employees in the fishery did not lose their jobs.

All these adjustments to changes in the legal regime of the seas contributed to an increase in the unit cost of fishing. It is questionable now whether it pays to continue with distant-water operations as opposed to some other alternative strategies that could be pursued in order to maintain the required level of consumption of animal food products. Government planners had, until 1988, a ready answer at hand: in their opinion, the distant-water fishery should be supported as long as the unit cost of net animal protein derived from fish remained lower than that derived from meat. This yardstick was "sacred" in centrally planned economies for making decisions related to the allocation of national resources between agriculture and fishery. Thus, from the national viewpoint, the relevant comparative evaluation in this respect (in local currency, of course) was carried out every year. An attempt to

Table 13.5

Costs of animal protein production in Poland (in US dollars per 1 kg of net protein contained in three different groups of products in the period 1966-87).

Fish as

Table 13.5

Costs of animal protein production in Poland (in US dollars per 1 kg of net protein contained in three different groups of products in the period 1966-87).

Fish as

Dairy

percentage

Year

Meat

Fish

products

of meat

1966

6.85

4.20

3.32

61

1970

6.97

4.25

3.16

61

1971

6.59

5.08

3.46

77

1972

6.50

5.88

3.75

90

1973

6.28

5.94

3.98

94

1974

6.41

5.82

4.14

90

1975

7.19

6.22

4.79

86

1976

8.43

8.10

5.10

96

1977

8.60

8.48

5.42

98

1978

9.20

8.73

5.17

94

1979

9.82

8.42

5.20

85

1980

11.24

9.50

6.17

84

1981

13.10

9.70

8.62

74

1982

15.78

12.09

8.86

76

1983

17.76

13.94

9.01

78

1984

18.10

16.13

10.04

89

1985

19.06

16.03

9.08

83

1986

19.48

16.52

10.28

84

1987

20.09

17.49

11.10

87

Index in 1987*

293

416

334

* Assuming 1966 as 100.

convert it into US dollars is shown in Table 13.5 and illustrated by Fig. 13.13.

One must note, however, that the use of unit cost of protein as a measurement for decision making has been questioned for many reasons. First, pure protein is never the object of trade, local or international. Its value varies from country to country depending on the composition of fish species traded and on the income elasticity of demand plus some social factors. In practice, individual investment decisions which ultimately constitute macroeconomic resource allocations are based on financial criteria and not on protein measurement.

Fig. 13.13 Protein production costs in US dollars per 1 kg net protein in the years 1969-87.

Second, all detailed figures of prices and costs of fishery and agricultural production are available in Poland in the local currency which is not convertible, and the official rate of exchange is inadequate for carrying out any sensible assessment for international comparative use.

The national economy as a whole is a muddle (even for the top government planners), and the figures produced in Table 13.5 may contain a large margin of error (up to 50%). So, one may conclude that the response of the Polish fishery administration to the establishment of EEZs was successful in terms of technological capacities, although disputable in terms of economics.

Deceptive fish protein concentrates

The issue of functional fish protein concentrates (FFPCs) could have been left unmentioned, had it not caused so much damage to the Polish fishery between 1974 and 1977. At a time when Polish managers were having trouble adjusting to the constraints

Fig. 13.13 Protein production costs in US dollars per 1 kg net protein in the years 1969-87.

YEAR

YEAR

stemming from the creation of EEZs, a certain dubious inventor appeared on the scene, offering a miraculous solution by converting to human consumption enormous quantities of by-catch and trash fish usually discarded by Polish vessels when catching target fish, or fish which was being reduced to fish meal. Since he was unable to get fishery managers to accept his technology of producing FFPC, he turned to the two top politicians in the country. To the despair of scientists, these politicians believed him and as a result ordered the hasty construction of a special laboratory and, simultaneously, of two big processing plants for FFPC, with a capacity of 30,000 mt each. This was done before the proposed technology was worked out in detail and tested in a pilot plant.

The FFPCs were to be added at a ratio of 20 percent to wieners and luncheon meat in an attempt to alleviate severe meat supply shortages which Poland was experiencing at the time. Unfortunately, all attempts to work out a technology for manufacturing FFPCs from full (un-deboned) trash fish failed. No single trash fish was utilized as promised. On the other hand, the gel and other shapes of FFPCs obtained from the deboned, filleted, and minced flesh of edible fish turned out to be more expensive than the traditional fish products. In addition, the production of FFPC competed in terms of raw material requirements with the existing processing plants and canneries. Thus, the scarcity of raw material was aggravated. Furthermore, the wieners stuffed with FFPC were not accepted by consumers, and the ratio of rejection was enormous. And so, after four years of futile struggle, the big processing plant was disassembled and transformed into a cannery (the second proposed FFPC processing plant had not as yet been constructed).

The harm done to the Polish fishery by the interest in the FFPC concept stems mainly from the fact that other more promising alternative opportunities to gain more raw material were neglected. Some options to establish joint ventures with access to foreign EEZs were lost. Such mistaken decisions - as in the case of FFPC - always have a considerable chance to crop up in centrally planned economies where the politicians have more control over final decisions than do the entrepreneurs who take into account market forces. In this specific case, the politicians wanted to find a detour to escape from the agriculture and fishery squeeze. In fact they achieved the opposite, making a bad situation even worse.

Search for resources on the lower trophic level (the Antarctic krill)

On the areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Polish fishing vessels had traditionally been extracting mainly secondary and tertiary carnivores. Because of imminent constraints in exploiting the EEZs, it was decided in the mid-1970s to investigate the possibilities of shifting operations down by two trophic levels and to start catching the Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba). The task was difficult due to the lack of knowledge about the distribution of remote stocks and puzzling technological properties of the would-be food products. The first three years of research were financed by the government through the Marine Fisheries Institute in Gdynia and, later, starting in 1980 by some enterprises. The following are the results of their investigations:

E. superba occurs in the belt of Antarctic waters between the minimum and maximum annual range of ice cover, south of the Antarctic Convergence, as shown in Fig. 13.14. Its distribution is circumpolar and biomass varies greatly within this area, fluctuating in different years. From the 1960s until the 1980s, there were at least seven controversial assessments of the standing biomass ranging from 44.5 to 5,000 million mt with a potential yield from 25 to 2,000 million mt annually (Budzinski et al., 1985). Like other pelagic animals living in shoals, krill migrate vertically to the upper water layer from 5 to 50 m, although some shoals have been caught at depths of up to 300 m. Fishing techniques for catching krill were mastered by skippers within a year, since they are generally similar to those used in pelagic trawling. Relevant hydroacoustic equipment is necessary to spot the shoals and distinguish them from other organisms and to plan the daily catch rate. Ice around the Antarctic determines the duration of the fishing season, which lasts on average from mid-November to mid-April. The catch rate obtained after two years of experimental fishing proved to be highly satisfactory, on average around 60-80 mt per day per boat during the five to six months of the fishing season.

The real obstacle for undertaking industrial production has been caused by an inconsistent daily fluctuation of catches combined with the very peculiar biochemical properties of krill meat. The main obstacle in processing krill into edible products is the active system of protetic enzymes and the large amount of water-soluble

Poland's long-distance fisheries 313 0° 30°E

90 W

Argentine Basin

South Georgia^

Scotia /i Sea'J

Falkland (A I.

^Atlantic-Indian Basin / \

^Atlantic-Indian Basin / \

Scotia /i Sea'J

Falkland (A I.

Weddel I \ Sea

Southeast Pacific Basin

Weddel I \ Sea

Prince Edward "I.

Iles Crozet lies Kergueien A

Southeast Pacific Basin

Southwest Pacific Basin

Bal leny\

Scott Is.

Macquariel Campbell I.

South Indian Basin

South Australian Basin

60 E

Major concentration of krill

Major fishing grounds Y///A Northern limit of krill distribution ——

Fig. 13.14 Areas of concentration of the Antarctic krill and the major fishing grounds exploited during the three Polish krill expeditions in the years 1976-79.

protein in krill muscles. Hence, after catching, the storage time on deck in air temperatures of 0-5°C cannot exceed three to four hours. After that time, the decomposition of tissue is advanced and the raw material can be directed only to reduction to fodder meal, provided that the overall storage time takes no more than eight to 10 hours. After that time, only empty shells remain. To keep within these deadlines a vessel must be properly designed, so that its capacities to catch, store, process (peel), and freeze are in harmony with one another. The time and frequency of trawling must be wisely regulated, corresponding to the processing and freezing capacities during the daily operation schedules.

Some other problems also appeared, like "green" and rapidly decomposing krill due to intensive feeding on phytoplankton and to high fluoride content in the tissue. Most of these problems were overcome during 1981-84 by improving the technology and constructing new prototypes of roller-peelers for removing the shell of this small organism (4-5 cm in length), weighing on average 1.5 g. Eventually, in terms of technology, a wide range of options for final products could be offered in the form of frozen, dried, or minced krill. Some hopes for large-scale production were tied up for some time with coagulated krill paste. They did not find a big market and production did not develop.

After years of experiments, Polish scientists and managers came to the conclusion that the appropriate product that could be accepted nowadays by the consumers would be "a shell-free intact tail-meat." The yield, after peeling, amounts only to 16 percent of the raw material caught. It resembles the small size "shelloff" shrimp and could most probably be traded in those countries where there is a high demand for shrimp.

New lines of peeling machines were installed on two vessels and the exploitation model was worked out and tested in the years 1984-87.

Commercial catches of krill could start after two conditions are met:

• krill tail-meat would have to be accepted on the market as an analogue or substitute for shrimp,

• the ex-vessel price paid for this frozen product should exceed US$3,500 per metric ton (at 1987 prices) to cover the unit costs of products.

If any other less efficient model of exploitation, different from that devised by Polish enterprises is adopted, or if the crew's remuneration is as high as it is on US vessels, the minimum selling price would probably need to amount to US$5,000 per metric ton.

The model of krill exploitation discussed here addresses the high-quality, low-volume production for human consumption, causing no disturbance in the ecosystem of the Antarctic. It is believed that within the next 10 years, the crucial issue of consumers' acceptance of the analogue of the small shrimp will finally be resolved either positively or negatively.

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