Cabo Verde: Canned, frozen fish exports up 5.5 pct to €30 mln by October 2021

The value of Cape Verdean exports of canned and frozen fish by October reached 30 million euros, an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the same period of 2020, according to official data compiled today by Lusa. 

According to the latest statistical report from the Bank of Cabo Verde (BCV), which details exports, this volume of sales of canned and frozen fish – which represents over 80 percent of the archipelago’s exports – amounted, from January to October, to 30 million euros.

In the first ten months of 2020, these sales totalled 28.5 million euros, according to the BCV.

Last July alone, Cabo Verde exported 5.3 million euros in canned and frozen fish, the highest monthly figure since at least 2019, and in October it reached 3.7 million euros.

Overall, exports of Cape Verdean goods (does not include revenues from tourism) fell in 2020 by more than 16% year-on-year to 46.2 million euros, essentially fish and canned goods. Of total exports, less than 10% are products manufactured in the archipelago, such as footwear and clothing. 

According to previous data from the Institute of Statistics, Spain is the main customer for most Cape Verdean products, with a share of over 60 percent, maintaining a significant activity in the canning industry, mainly on the island of Sao Vicente. 

This canning industry conceded, exactly a year ago, problems in exports, given the lack of an agreement on the part of the European Union for derogation from rules of origin.

Without approval of the new derogation request since 2020, Cape Verdean canned food exports would have customs charges (because the raw material originates from fishing vessels from other countries), putting the survival of the sector in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the European Commission last June approved a three-year derogation from the rules of preferential origin on canned tuna, mackerel and frigate tuna fillets by Cabo Verde.

The former Cape Verdean minister for the Maritime Economy, Paulo Veiga, admitted that the European Commission’s derogation from rules of origin, making canned fish exports possible, would be the last and that by 2023 the archipelago would have a national industrial fleet.

Fishing in Cabo Verde is semi-industrial, given the practically non-existent national industrial fleet to supply the canning industries operating in the archipelago, which resort to catches by industrial ships flying the flag of other countries.

Without a national fleet to meet the needs of the canning industry, since 2008 Cabo Verde has received derogations from the European Commission, which has already warned that this will be the last.