Fish consumption in Brazil is still modest. The average Brazilian eats only seven kilograms of fish per year, although the World Health Organization recommends 14 kilos as an ideal minimum level of consumption.
To alter this situation, the Special Secretariat of Aquiculture and Fishing is organizing a national campaign to encourage fish consumption.
“We shall hold the Second National Fish Week. The idea is to reduce the price and increase the supply, to make the product more accessible to the population,” informs Minister José Fritsch, who is in charge of the Secretariat.
Today, the Secretariat will sign a agreement with the Brazilian Supermarkets Association to ensure the campaign.
Fishmongers are also being trained to give consumers better guidance on how to prepare fish.
“Fish dealers are being instructed on how to talk to consumers, orient them on what type of product to buy and how to recognize when the product is suitable for consumption, and give them tips on how to prepare the fish they are taking home,” Fritsch affirms.
To increase production, the Secretariat is making an effort to organize the supply chain, reduce the number of middlemen, and train fishermen.
The government wants the National Supply Company to get involved by purchasing fish from traditional fishermen to replenish the government’s regulatory stocks.
The Secretariat is also meeting with representatives of fishing cooperatives and associations to assure conditions of fish conservation by installing cold storage facilities.
“At present, traditional fishermen are the victims of middlemen, because they lack conditions for conserving their product. The idea is to make it possible for fishermen to provide adequate storage for their product. In the industrial area, we shall stimulate the installation of packing plants and the production of processed and frozen products,” the Minister affirms.
The National Council of Aquiculture and Fishing will be inaugurated this week. This should allow society and the State to discuss the problems of the sector and propose solutions.
“President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva established a structure to consider ways to improve the national fishing industry by organizing and developing the sector. We shall generate employment and income, as well as guaranteeing a place on the international market for Brazilian products,” Fritsch explains.
During the First National Fish Week, last year, the price of fish fell an average of 30%, and consumption grew as much as 35% in some regions.
Reporter: Rosamélia de Abreu
Translator: David Silberstein