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Pesca: Acuicultura & Procesamiento de Pescado

The fishing industry is a small and very healthy sector of the Dutch economy. The principal activities within the production chain are fishing and farming (aquaculture), processing and (international) trade of fish. The Dutch fleet is one of the most modern fishing fleets in the world. The main types of marine fisheries are pelagic trawling (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) and bottom trawling (dover sole, plaice, codfish and brown shrimp). Besides, a small fleet is involved in coastal fisheries with a variety of fixed gear types. Fresh water fisheries are of limited economic importance in the Netherlands. The aquaculture sector includes the shellfish industry (mussels and oysters in estuarine waters) and fish farmers (eel, catfish mainly). The latter use closed systems with water recirculation.

The Netherlands is an international hub for fish trading. The trade volume greatly surpasses the volume of catch fish landed and aquacultural production. Most fish processed in and/or traded through the Netherlands finds its way to markets in the EU and abroad. Whereas the processing industry is of enormous importance, the work is outsourced to low wage countries. Dutch fishtraders are very keen on finding new sources of producing. Hence the country has great potential for applicants seeking contacts for the export of
their products. Dutch fish processors are leading the European sector in terms of technology, efficiency, hygene and food quality. Principal activities of the industry include: filleting, freezing, frying, marinating, smoking and packing.

World market
Products from the pelagic fleet is, for the larger part, directly sold (frozen) to the world market. The products from the bottom trawlers, near coastal and freshwater fisheries, and the shellfish industry is landed and auctioned. The seven auctions are among the most modern establishments in Europe, with the auction in Urk being the largest flat fish auction of the world. Producers of eel and catfish directly sell their products to traders and processors. The Dutch fishing fleet is modern with most vessels recently designed and built at wharfs in the Netherlands. The focus of ship builders is increasingly on fuel efficiency, innovation of gear types, product hygene and innovative design, and computerisation of the wheel house.

Technological innovation
As Dutch fisheries are focusing on technological innovation: research and education are of great importance. Fishermen and operators in the processing industry are trained at specialised polytechnical schools, that also offer advanced courses to experienced operators and sailors. The University of Wageningen teaches courses in fisheries management and aquaculture. Research is mainly focused on fish farming, water treatment, genetics and propagation with a minor programme on the ecology of tropical lakes.