Romania has requested the European Commission a new audit to prove that the Tulcea-based Fish Exchange is operational, representative of the Managing Authority of the Operational Program for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Maritime Affairs (POPAM), Gheorghe Vacaru, told a meeting in Tulcea."We have requested a new EC audit because such an exchange market is supposed to solve the fishermen's problems. Some administrative issues arose in the meantime, such as who covers the operating costs, who pays for the fish and so on. We are now in the position where we can prove to the Commission European that this exchange market is capable to perform the operations it has been set up for," said the representative of the POPAM Managing Authority, Gheorghe Vacaru.
As one of the major dysfunctions of the Tulcea-based European project, Vacaru mentioned the non-operation of the three ships purchased for the fish exchange; he explained that the support of the county authorities has been requested to remedy the situation.
Both Gheorghe Vacaru, and Secretary of State with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) Gheorghe Stefan expressed their conviction that the Tulcea-based facility is capable to work as a fish market.
"Our main problem now is to find a solution to not be compelled to return the European funds spent for this objective," said the MADR Secretary of State.
The president of the National Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture Marian Lixandru explained that immediately after its opening last year, the Tulcea Fish Exchange could not work because of the fishing ban that followed the event.
"The fish exchange was a requirement of the European Union and its purpose was to achieve the traceability of the fish and to establish a fair price for both fishermen and consumers," said Lixandru.
In his turn, Ionut Danila, director of the 'Unirea' Agri-food Trading Office that manages the Fish Exchange, said that in 2019 "the fish exchange has worked for two or three months and traded 90 tons of fish, because we were capitalized late and were unable to pay for the merchandise. We also came to the conclusion that all the fish must be processed."
Governor of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, Ion Munteanu, expressed his openness for working with ANPA and suggested that a protocol be signed to this effect.