The Dutch seafood industry has agreed a fuel price surcharge scheme of fishery products to support the industry from the increased fuel price
sThe partners in the fisheries chain (suppliers, auctions and trade/processing) in the Netherlands have together agreed a fuel price surcharge scheme that will support fishing companies, which are suffering from the increased diesel price.
The agreement will allow the supply of fresh fishery products for the trade/processing and the domestic consumer is also guaranteed a supply of fish in the coming weeks.
Due to the sharp rise in gas oil prices as a result of the war in Ukraine, profitable fishing is no longer possible and many fishing vessels are stranded. The scheme will come into effect yesterday, Thursday 17 March. Initially for a maximum of 4 weeks and the scheme only applies to Dutch beam trawl and twin-rig vessels (including flagships) that land at Dutch auctions.
Fish for the consumer
In recent days, the interest groups of the auctions (Nationaal Overleg Visafslagen, NOVA), the trade and processing (Fish Federation and VVU) and the suppliers (Cooperative Fisheries Organization, CVO) have held intensive consultations about the content of the scheme for a fuel price-related surcharge. The aim of the scheme is to guarantee the supply of fresh fishery products to consumers. Trade and processing have repeatedly indicated that it is challenging to pass on a surcharge to the customer. According to the trade, the current fish prices are already a problem, which means that the switch to cheaper (import) alternatives is already being made. The shrimp trade in the Netherlands has said it has been paying a higher price to shrimp fishermen for several weeks in connection with increased fuel costs. Nevertheless, the fish trade has decided to work out a scheme together with the other suppliers and auctions and to commit to it. The auctions then worked very hard to implement the scheme in their sales process. “This shows that we as a fishing chain want to work together to continue to provide consumers with fresh fish, even in times of crisis,” says Kees van Beveren, chairman of the CVO.
No fuel price support from the government
The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality will not compensate the fishermen for the sky-high fuel prices caused by the war in Ukraine. The producer organisations (POs) had previously requested this together with the municipality of Urk. It is surprising to learn that from April 1, 2022, the French government will give its fishermen a discount/subsidy on diesel of €0.35 per litre for the period of 4 months.
“Like the French fishermen, we would have preferred to have received fuel support from our government so that a fuel price surcharge on the fish could be avoided. Our government does not want that, and we are therefore faced with unfair competition within the EU’s borders; the level-playing-field is missing,” said Johan Nooitgedagt, chairman of the Dutch Fishermen’s Union.
A shut-down regulation that provides some solace for the high fuel price is not yet available in the short term. In the meantime, in the context of loss of turnover due to COVID-19, there are ships that are stationary due to use of the TVL scheme .
The fuel price surcharge scheme that took effect on March 17, 2022:
- € 0.75/kg for turbot, brill and sole;
- € 0.20/kg for other fish (excluding shrimps);
- The scheme applies as long as the gas oil price is € 0.60/litre or higher, whereby the benchmark has yet to be determined;
- Only beam trawl and twin-rig vessels are eligible for a surcharge because these vessels have to deal with the high fuel costs to an extreme extent, which makes profitable fishing no longer possible;
- Only fish that is landed at Dutch fish auctions is eligible for a surcharge. This therefore concerns both Dutch ships and flag ships insofar as they do not qualify for fuel compensation in the flag state;
- The surcharge is administratively applied via the payout statement after the auction clock.
- The arrangement applies for a maximum of 4 weeks;
- The surcharge is free of levies (costs) with the exception of the statutory (VAT).