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Marisco. Dubai e Nova Iorque 'secam' mercado português

oysters; Dubai and New York “dry up” the Portuguese market

By Vitor Renho and Maria Moreira Rato

It’s the price of fame. So much has been said about the quality of the Portuguese fish and seafood that the prices are now skyrocketing. “Portugal has become fashionable, and now many of our best fish are flying to New York and Dubai, although seafood is most in demand here,” says Bernardo Reno (Gigi), owner of one of the most popular beach restaurants. Where delicacies such as prawns, lobsters and national lobster are served.

«A year ago, I bought shrimp in Quarteira at 80 euros, now it’s 120 euros, and all because demand from other countries and cities, such as Dubai and New York, I don’t mind giving 180 euros per kilo. They woke up late to the richness of the Portuguese sea, but they woke up. In Dubai, in cold restaurants without an atmosphere, a meal never goes below 700 euros”, he explains.

The discovery of Portuguese fish and seafood in New York began with Chef Eric Ripert’s proof at Le Bernardin in Manhattan, New York, recalls Gigi—who was once hired, “with all the privileges,” to make prawns famous in Thailand and Monaco. Another popular restaurant in the “city that never sleeps”, where Portuguese seafood is on the rise, is Estiatorio Milos, a Greek restaurant where the fortunes of the Lusitian Sea reach exorbitant values.

“Many of the best fish caught in our waters are no longer in Portugal. Red mullet from Quarteira, turbot, and tuna from the Azores – some weighing more than 200/300 kilograms – are transported to New York. Red mullet is considered a luxury fish by the French who have taken this trend to New York, although the fish is served boneless and with sauces we don’t use,” says João Lourenço, of Paixa Restaurant, in Vale do Lobo.

“A few days ago my supplier told me a funny story. He used to tell me, ‘I didn’t board a flying tuna in the Azores and I couldn’t send it to New York and keep some for my Portuguese clients,’” he says, adding, “We pay the price of fame and promotion that foreign clients intrigued by the quality of Portuguese fish. When we talk about tuna, we cannot exclude the type that travels directly from the Azores – without passing through the mainland – to Japan, where it is considered an almost unparalleled delicacy. “Whether it’s restaurants in New York, Dubai or Japan, they don’t mind paying three times as much as we can, and that would make the richness of produce caught in national waters very expensive,” comments one supplier.

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Further adding to the reasons for the huge increase in national seafood and fish is the fact that the Spaniards, even Madrid, are big buyers of what is caught in national waters. Finally, according to João Lourenço, in addition to the increase in prices, it is necessary to take into account the festive seasons: Christmas, Easter and summer holidays – which lead to higher prices due to increased demand.

Certainly, many businessmen contacted by Nascer do SOL believe that, in summer, shrimp will fetch more than 150 euros at market stalls in the south – a price already reached at some fishmongers in the capital’s gourmet markets. For more ideas on how seafood prices can go up, a kilo of large oysters at Corte Inglés is €40.

If you want to buy fresh fish and seafood, then get ready for a very hot summer.

Lisbon suffers from a distance

On a trip to one of the main markets in the capital, you can get an idea of ​​the increase in seafood prices. In Benfica, in the classic Jardel Pavilion, shrimp from Quarteira, which are sold in Algarve markets for less than 20 euros / kg, were sold at 50 euros per kilo. The price of the cockle, one of the most expensive bivalves, is 14 euros per kilogram. It was from Ria de Aveiro and it has a large size and blackness that you don’t see in a “nursery”.

But as what is a good patriot, on the day of our visit to the Benfica market there was only one shoe rack weighing more than two kilograms, it was 40 euros a kilo! Lively and lively, but more expensive than those sold in the main Portuguese breweries – only this is not national, it is from aquaculture, and therefore less flavorful and less “plump”.

Trumpets through a straw

In one of the most famous breweries in Greater Lisbon, which has a great price / quality ratio, but whose owner requested anonymity, we were told that he buys shrimp at 65 euros per kilo, although they fall into the category B4 – the most expensive even photographed Now in the text is B0. There’s a rating in everything…«At Easter, I probably sell 200 shoe racks a day, but I can’t find them large or full. The ones that appeared are small and some are empty. And at a price that is not comparable to other years. It’s much more expensive.”

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The survey officer also talks about the high prices of lobsters and lobsters, and is surprised by the disappearance of the pods that make one of the best salads in the capital. “In the many years I’ve had the restaurant, I don’t remember not eating the century salad. Now I can have them one day a week.”

Continuing the pace of growth except for the year 2020

According to data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), during 2021, live animals and animal kingdom products exported correspond to a value of €1,863,799,561 worldwide. Specifically, 1,264,421,867 euros in Europe and 599,377,694 euros outside the European Union.

This is not surprising, because in December 2021, within the scope of the Conference on Internationalization of Portuguese Fish – Barriers and Opportunities at Expo Fish Portugal, organized by Dukapisca, Jose Junquero, a specialist in the sea economy, already advanced between 2013 and 2019, it has grown Demand for national fishery products is up 30% globally, according to data from the International Federation of Portuguese-Speaking Telecommunications (AICEP).

This ratio is evidenced by the prominent place that fish occupies in the list of the heaviest agricultural food products in Portuguese exports: it comes first, followed by wine, olive oil and vegetables. It is important to clarify that in this context, the term “fish” includes fishing, aquaculture and fish processing, which each year produce an export volume of more than one billion euros. Thus, it is equivalent to a gross value added (GVA) of 1.7 billion euros and contributes to the fact that 60 thousand people are employed.

If we analyze the data of the National Institute of Statistics, we understand that the exponential growth of fish exports stopped only in 2020, the year when the novel coronavirus appeared. This year, the country exported 15.5% less (917.6 million euros) than in 2019, focusing on the European market, which represented 16.9% of the total value.

Two years ago, only the canned fish sub-sector, whose exports increased by 13.8%, produced figures that pleased producers, not least because, if we consult the National Statistics Institute, we conclude that canned fish was the main group of products exported in Portugal in 2020.

Jose Junquero said that in the first half of last year, in November 2021, exports regained the pace of growth and sales of these foodstuffs abroad increased by 13%, and between January and June, exports of crustaceans, mollusks and other invertebrates increased by 47.7% – almost doubling – fish exports grew By 8%, exports of fish products and canned goods increased by 6% compared to the same period last year.

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It is also known that the majority of national exports (78%) are destined for the European market, with Spain dominating, while Brazil and the USA occupy high positions in markets outside the community. Interestingly, in October 2019, with Donald Trump in power, in addition to cheese, wine, ham, butter, yogurt and fruits such as oranges, pears, peaches and cherries, some types of Portuguese seafood also became available. % duty upon import into the United States.

However, in September 2020, due to the pandemic, the scenario outlined in AICEP’s Portugalglobal magazine was different, stating: “In terms of fishing, the most relevant advantages are the more extensive EEZ in Europe, the high diversity of marine species and the fact that A traditional activity in Portugal”, adding that “fish caught in Portugal is considered a product of the highest quality worldwide”, and for this reason, “Portuguese exports of fish products, preserves, crustaceans and other seafood products amounted to 1.055 million euros (2019) , with a special focus on destinations such as Spain, Italy and France. Portuguese canned fish is one of the biggest trends in the food world in the coming years, especially because of the delicacy with which the Portuguese deal with fish.”

We are currently living in the United Nations Ocean Decade 2021-2030: one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 (No. 14) is related to the sustainable use of the oceans. In addition, the European Green Agreement includes a set of goals and measures for Europe to reduce carbon emissions and protect water resources. In the national territory, one goal is to designate at least 30% of marine waters under national jurisdiction as marine protected areas (AMP), including 10% of the marine area under strict protection, and to implement the National Network of Marine Protected Areas (RNAMP).

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