Main research question/goal
Which biological, technical, financial, economic and market-oriented steps are necessary to make the Nephrops (lobster and related) fisheries in Belgium successful again? In which of these steps can ILVO play a supporting role? This research is a partnership between science and industry: ILVO joins forces with the Flemish Fish Auction, the Belgian fishing fleet and VLAM (Flemish Centre for Agricultural and Fisheries Marketing). The intention is to promote Nephrops in the national and international fish trade and the Belgian consumers. Until the early 1990s there was a specialised and flourishing Flemish Nephrops fishery. Today the Nephrops quotum is significantly (over 1,200 tonnes) underutilised. This project not only studies the supply side, but also the market chain from producer to consumer.
The project partners organise a national consumer market study. They collect data on the Nephrops population and technical fisheries data. They explore the national and international market for fresh Nephrops. They identify the technical and commercial requirements for Nephrops trade. The final goal is to develop a market strategy to revive a succesful Nephrops trade in Belgium.
This project provides a realistic pathway to obtaining an acceptable price-setting for landing Nephrops. Diversifying the Belgian fisheries industry with this fishery would be beneficial in part because it offers an alternative to the dominant beam trawl fisheries. The current national supply of Nephrops is very low and irregular. The absence of a stable supply leads to large variations in price. When the supply increases slightly, the price drops, which discourages fishermen to invest in this fishery. This project aims to redevelop the market in order to obtain better prices; this would encourage fishermen to start targeting Nephrops again.