North Sea fishers strike over dropping shrimp prices

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North Sea shrimp fishers on Tuesday went on strike to protest the decline in wholesale prices per kilogramme in the industry, a Dutch association representing the fishermen said.

"Only one ship went to sea in the Netherlands today, according to our information," said Tjeerd Dussel, president of the Dutch association for fishers' rights "Hulp in Nood" (Help in Need).

The association -- which claimed the strike has also been supported in Germany and Denmark -- has called for a four-week protest.

About 30,000 tonnes are caught annually in the European Union by about 500 vessels, including 225 in the Netherlands and 250 in Germany, according to Dussel and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Agriculture.

The Dutch Competition Authority (NMa) in 2003 penalised Dutch, German and Danish shrimp fishers for price fixing.

Since then, the sales price of a kilogramme of shrimp declined steadily from more than 3.00 euros to 1.29 euros, Dussel said.

"The prices are so low it's impossible to cover our costs," he added.

There were also an excessive number of shrimp fishers: "It means greater supply and the prices drop."

"A sale price of 3.75 euros would be needed to cover all costs," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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