14ymedio, Havana, November 16, 2023 — The explanation of the director of the Pescaisla company, Ramón Contino, for the debacle of lobster fishing on Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud [Isle of Youth] lasted a short time on the YouTube channel of the official telecenter Islavisión. The 50% drop in production, the official said, is due to the fact that seafood also “emigrate,” fleeing the unfavorable climate.
“It’s climate change, the high temperatures of our waters,” Contino explained in the recording, which was deleted by Islavisión. “The island’s continental shelf exceeds 95 degrees (F), and the lobster migrates to deeper waters,” he added.
Saddened by the failure of the company, Contino said that not everything depends only on the natural factor but also on the “breakdown of the boats,” which have been demanding maintenance for years. However, the “significant decrease in capture,” the manager insisted, has more to do with causes beyond his management or the workers’ effort, although, he acknowledged, the budget allocated to his company “has decreased.”
The seafood processing company on the Isle of Youth, which packs lobsters to export and supply hotels, has been the first to complain. Pescaisla has delivered half the product this year compared to other years — an amount that the official press did not reveal — which will have a notable impact on the economy, Contino lamented.
His strategy: “Betting on an improvement in weather conditions,” he concluded, shrugging his shoulders
The international market and Cuban hotels will be left without the three products offered by the Isle of Youth: pre-cooked and raw whole lobster, frozen tails, and tail and head combinations, sold mainly to Asian buyers.
His strategy: “Betting on an improvement in weather conditions,” he concluded, shrugging his shoulders while the report showed images of better times: hundreds of boxes of lobster, which in 2023 are not reaching the processor.
With the results exposed by its directors, the Isla de la Juventud has become the wallflower in Cuban lobster production, one of the few that goes at full speed in the country. Several reports in the official press, published in recent weeks, have celebrated the success of shellfish fishing on the coasts not far from the Isla.
At the antipodes of the situation exposed by Contino is the overcompliance of the Fishing Company of Santa Cruz del Sur, in Camagüey, which on November 6 was proud of having captured the 250 tons of lobster of its annual plan and being in search of more seafood.
With more than 10,000 pesos of monthly salary, in addition to additional payments, Camagüey fishermen say that they have also had difficulties. The obstacle, however, didn’t have to do with the “emigration” of the lobsters but with the lack of fuel, which affected fishing routines.
Despite everything, they clarified, the shrimp industry – and the fishing industry in general – can be considered successful. The explanation is the recipient of the merchandise, which rarely reaches the tables of Cubans: the binomial formed by tourism and export, which makes the profits translate into dollars and not into the squalid Cuban peso, unable to move the gears of any industry on the Island.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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