Belgium’s newest addition to the fishing fleet, the Z483 Jasmine, has made its maiden voyage, bringing in a catch of 40kg of sole, which fetched a price of €10,516.30.
The takings from the first voyage of a new fishing boat for 20 years was donated by owner Dany Vlietinck to the anti-cancer charity Kom op tegen Kanker.
Vlietinck’s announcement that the first catch would go to the charity provoked the interest of a lot of buyers, said Emiel Bouckaert, president of the fishers’ federation.
“They were offering high prices for sole, the most important fish species for Belgian fisheries.”
Two of the four lots of 10kg went to local traders: Chef’s Secret from Zeebrugge and Promovis from Nieuwpoort. The other two went north, to Adri & Zoon from Yerseke in the Netherlands and Visgroothandel De Smet from Breskens.
“The people at Kom op tegen Kanker have thanked the shipowner, fishermen, buyers and everyone else who cooperated and the federation is also proud of this initiative in the fishing sector,” said Brouckaert.
The new boat had its naming ceremony at the end of May, the first new boat since the previous Jasmine, also owned by Vlietinck. The average ago of a Belgian fishing boat is now 39 years.
“That is not optimal,” said Brouckaert. “It makes it much more difficult to achieve the sustainability targets that Europe is pushing forward. Also in terms of safety, the environment and working conditions.”
But Z483 Jasmine will not be the last. Another half-dozen boats, each costing in the region of €5-€7 million, will be introduced in the coming months, meaning that about 10% of the fleet of 65 boats will be renewed this year alone.