Sri Lanka faces EU fish export ban

Updated 15 October 2014

Sri Lanka faces EU fish export ban

BRUSSELS: The European Union moved to ban Sri Lanka from selling its seafood to the massive EU market in a bid to stop illegal fishing by the second biggest exporter to the bloc.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, meanwhile proposed to scrap a ban on fish from Belize and lifted a threat to bar seafood from Panama, Fiji, Togo and Vanuatu.
“The other side of the coin today is Sri Lanka,” Maria Damanaki, commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, told reporters.
“We tried to work with them, but they were not cooperative. I can say the contrary happened,” Damanaki said.
“Sri Lanka is now authorizing huge vessels to fish in the Indian Ocean without marine GPS. That means that control is impossible,” she said.
After conducting a four-year investigation and issuing a warning in 2012, the commission said Sri Lanka had failed to make “credible progress” toward fighting illegal fishing, including creating a scheme to punish high-seas violators.
The ban on Sri Lankan products will take effect in mid-January, so as not to interfere with current contracts, the commission said.
The EU last year imported 7,400 tons of products such as fresh and chilled swordfish, tuna and tuna-like species from Sri Lanka worth about 74 million euros ($94 million).
The commission said EU member states will over the next few months also impose bans on fishing in Sri Lankan waters by EU-flagged vessels as well as on joint fishing operations.
Damanaki said Sri Lanka was the second largest exporter to the EU, which is the world’s most valuable fish market.
Belize saw its products banned by the EU in March for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, along with those from Cambodia and Guinea, which remain on the EU blacklist.
Once the European Council confirms Belize’s removal from the blacklist, the commission said, the EU can resume importing fisheries products from the Central American country and EU-flagged ships can return to fish in its waters.
Illegal fishing is estimated to account for 15 percent of world catches, or some 10 billion euros a year, and the decisions by the EU, which imports 65 percent of its seafood, won swift praise from environmental groups.
Saskia Richartz, the EU oceans policy director for Greenpeace, said: “Where diplomatic efforts fail, the EU is right to ban the imports of products from countries like Sri Lanka that fail to manage their fisheries properly.”


Plague to protein: Israeli firm seeks to put locusts on the menu

Photo/Supplied
Updated 04 August 2020

Plague to protein: Israeli firm seeks to put locusts on the menu

  • Some goods produced in the Golan Heights face export restrictions, including strict labeling requirements, because most of the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the area

GOLAN HEIGHTS: From biblical plague to modern-day protein, one Israeli firm wants to make locusts a sustainable food choice in the Holy Land and beyond.
As for whether or not the insects are kosher, the answer is not so simple.
At Hargol Foodtech’s farm in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a rectangular enclosure that once served as a chicken coop is filled with thousands of locusts, a grasshopper species that has a highly destructive swarming phase.
Contained in a series of meticulously stacked, climate-controlled mesh cages, the insects are served wheatgrass through their three-month life-cycle, before being cooled, killed and baked.
Hargol’s chief executive Dror Tamir said that he grew up hearing stories of how locusts destroyed the fields of his kibbutz in the 1950s.
Yet the Yemenite Jews in the area did not view locusts as crop-ruining pests, but as an edible source of nutrients, Tamir recalled.
As an adult, Tamir became a food and nutrition entrepreneur increasingly concerned about the environmental cost of providing the world’s growing population with enough animal protein.
Tamir said he founded Hargol — Hebrew for grasshopper — 6.5 years ago after realizing the insects were the solution.
The company’s goal is to be “the first in the world to grow grasshoppers on a commercial scale, and provide the world with a healthier and more sustainable source of protein.”
Ram Reifen, a professor of human nutrition at Hebrew University, agreed that the planet is facing growing food supply challenges.
With Earth’s population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, raising livestock to feed the planet will become increasingly unsustainable, given the massive water and land resources required.
“The fear is there will be a scarcity of protein,” Reifen said. Tamir said that unprocessed locusts consist of more than 70 percent protein and contain all amino acids, along with other nutrients.

HIGHLIGHT

At Hargol Foodtech’s farm in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a rectangular enclosure that once served as a chicken coop is filled with thousands of locusts, a grasshopper species that has a highly destructive swarming phase.

“What they do lack is saturated fat and cholesterol,” he said. “They have the good stuff. They don’t have the bad stuff.”
According to his own estimate, around 2.5 billion people — mainly in developing nations — consume insects as part of their regular diet.
And, the “most widely eaten insects in the world are grasshoppers,” Tamir said.
But, he added, “when trying to target North American and European customers, it’s really hard to overcome the ‘yuck’ factor.”
To make their product more palatable to Westerners, Hargol turns locusts into powder, which can be mixed into various foods.
Tamir said they were about to launch sales of locust-enhanced pancake mix and smoothie powders worldwide.
Some goods produced in the Golan Heights face export restrictions, including strict labeling requirements, because most of the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the area.