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Category: In the News

Inspiration: The Danish Fishing Industry

In Denmark, fishing is undergoing a huge transformation in a small way. But how can a small country make a change?

First a little background into the state of the commercial fishing today.

The fishing industry or fishing sector is the economic activity of the primary sector which consists of fishing and producing fish, shellfish and other marine products for human consumption or as raw material of processes.

Here in most of the western world, it is a big industry with a few major players. This is true for most of the developed and developing markets worldwide. According to statistics from United Nations, Global fish production in 2001 was 130.2 million tons. In addition to commercial catches, 37.9 million tons were produced in aquaculture fish farms.

The largest production comes from the sea, however, where each country has an exclusive economic zone to navigate and fish, of 370.4 km (200 nautical miles) of extension of the coast towards offshore. Beyond that limit, the capture of marine species is free, as they are considered international waters.

In the years between 1990 and 2000 it became increasingly evident that the fishing exploitation severely decimated the populations of certain types of marine fish, such as cod, which could disappear in 15 years if it is harvested at the current pace.

A sector of the fishing industry that seems to remain in good health, though production is confined to a relatively small number of fishermen, is that of freshwater fishing in Canada. The commercial fishing industry in Manitoba is made up of about 3,500 fishermen who produce 25.95% of Canada's freshwater catches.

But how does that related to the danish fishing industry?

In Denmark small fishing boats feed the local community, create jobs and contribute to the preservation of ecosystems on European coasts. But can they compete with the big fishing industry, which has the means to put small boats out of business?

One reason the fish populations continue to be in decline is because of the large fish harvesting factories that can process the fish directly at sea, eliminating a need for a larger workforces through streamlined efficiency.

Many Danish fishermen are born into the work, with their profession, a family trade for generations. Everyday life for the fishermen is hard; with eleven hours on rough seas everyday.

While some give up on their family professions and seek easier more lucrative work elsewhere, others find ways to grow and thrive.

The work is hard on rough sea, confined to small boats. Their, a three-men crew can haul in 1,500 kilograms of fish on the North Western coast of Denmark. At one time a similarly sized crew would have expected large catches. Now large beam trawlers damage the seabed and take in the majority of fish.

Still, a small village is setting an old tradition forward with a twist that modern industrial fishing cannot match.

Landing on a sandy beach would destroy most modern ships but not the small oak boats built in region, constructed even before the Viking Age. Thorupstrand is a fishing village and has only a few hundred permanent residents, with several thousand residents in the surrounding area relying on the small fleet of oak fishing boats that depart from the village everyday for food.

These smaller wooden vessels use nets that only stay on the ground briefly, and are pulled up again before they have a chance to destroy the ocean's delicate ecosystem.

Small-scale fishing has always played a crucial role in many European regions, Denmark is not unique in this regard.

Such operations are crucial to the Mediterranean and Black Seas regions, small-scale fishing accounts for more more than three-quarter of the total active fishing fleet; an industry that accounts for more than fifty percent of the total workforce active in the fishing sector.

The European Union is aware of the importance of these small scale operation which is why in the last seven years alone, small-scale fishing companies received around 210 million euro in public funding to support sustainability and diversification projects in the region.

Unfortunately this was something that came too late for Denmark, which lost many of its independent fishing operations more than a decade ago to larger competition.

At the time, it was decided to assign fishing quotas to boat owners, this was a transferable resource which big companies were willing pay a lot of money to buy. At that time market prices exploded making it hard for small scale operators to enter and many independent fishermen sold their boats and quotas and gave up fishing altogether.

Coastal towns lost their boats and turned into ghost towns. Fearing for their future, Thorupstrand fishermen decided to take action. Through cooperation the local community preserved its fishing rights and traditional methods and cultural heritage including the trade of wooden boat making, which is famous, not just in Denmark but around the world.

The village even managed to expand its sales to the Danish capital, selling fresh fish in Copenhagen.

Through support of the local industry and the embrace of traditional techniques Thorupstrand has proven that small scale can make a big impact for both the environment and provide sustainability for the local workforce a the same time.

Round 2: Trump vs. China

Trump wants to support farmers here in the US suffering from the ongoing trade war with China with 12 billion dollars. He announced this during his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In a first step, the U.S. had increased its tariffs on imports from China worth $200 billion from 10 to 25 percent. In a second step, tariffs are to be extended to additional goods produced in China worth $325 billion – which will in essence affect all imports from China.

China, in turn, has announced an increase in tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods. As a result, negotiations with China ended without a breakthrough or plan for further talks, stock markets here and China slumped.

The new tariffs where in upped to 25 percent for goods like cotton, machinery and grain. Tariffs on aircraft parts and optical instruments double to 20 percent.

142 Migrants Rescued From An Abandoned Truck In Mexico

For many Americans it is hard to imagine what it would take to force us to give up all that we have and make a journey to a foreign country, risking our possessions and lives for a chance at a little bit better future. But that is what is happening right now as I am typing, right now as you are reading. And that is why, dehydrated and crammed in the back of an abandoned truck like animals 142 Central American migrants, mainly Guatemalans were rescued by Mexican authorities yesterday.

Among them were dozens of children, some very young, who were saved thanks to an anonymous call that informed the authorities about the presence of the abandoned truck on the edge of a road in Amatlán de los Reyes, a municipality in Veracruz.

Red Cross doctors were asked to assist the migrants, who have then been placed in the hands of the migratory services which will be responsible for their deportation.

The 142 people arrived from Chiapas, crammed in a trailer which measured just forty feet by eight wide, with only a few fans to withstand the intense heat. Once they realized that they had been abandoned, they tried in vain to open the door and shouted for help.

The migratory flow to the United States was swelled at the end of 2018. The repression of the Mexican authorities is increasing, while the migrants are returned to the mafias and traffickers.

Cuba: The Mobilization Of The LGBT Community Challenges the Regime

A rally in Cuba resulted in at least three arrests. Nearly a hundred LGBT activists marched through the streets of Havana today at a new event.

They braved the ban from the regime to claim their rights, and protested against the cancellation of the pride walk, framed by the authorities, before the police dispersed the procession unceremoniously.

A draft amendment to the Cuban Constitution, which would pave the way for homosexual marriage, faces strong reluctance in public opinion, owing to the increasing influence of the Evangelical Church on the island.

Police Crackdown in Mexico

Hundreds of migrants have been detained in a police crackdown in Mexico, the largest registered against a migrant caravan to date. Among the detainees were many women with their children trying to escape the poverty and violence in Central America.

The federal police and the immigration agents were going up to vans to the migrants who were in the tail of the caravan; made up of about 3000 people, who were advancing under a scorching sun by way of dirt road in Chiapas.

According to the Associated Press, some 500 migrants may have been detained before further deportation.

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