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7.4 GERMANY


7.4.1 Catches

German catches of chondrichthyans have never been very abundant and they have declined from 900 tonnes in 1950 to more than 220 tonnes in 1997. In the period 1952-73 landings were more sizeable, fluctuating around 1 500 tonnes per year and peaking at 1 900 tonnes in 1966 and 1973. In 1974 they fell to less than 700 tonnes and then they declined until 1991 when they reached a low of 14 tonnes. In the last few years catches have increased up to 520 tonnes in 1994.

In 1997, 140 tonnes of these catches were recorded as “various sharks nei” (Selachimorpha (Pleurotremata)), 12 tonnes as “dogfish not identified” and 74 tonnes as batoid fishes. Previously, much of the German elasmobranch catch was composed of picked dogfish, with a peak of 1 300 tonnes in 1972, and there were also small amounts of “large sharks” (Squaliformes).

Figure 83 German elasmobranch catches by species in 1 000 tonnes (1950-1997)

Source: FAO - FIDI.

In 1997 all German chondrichthyan catches were reported from the Northeast Atlantic. In the past there were also significant captures in the Northwest Atlantic.

Figure 84 German elasmobranch catches by fishing areas in 1 000 tonnes (1950-1997)

Source: FAO - FIDI.

Historically there were no German fisheries targeted on sharks. Elasmobranchii were usually captured as bycatch, mainly by bottom trawls or factory trawlers, and discarded at sea or processed for fishmeal on board factory trawlers. Only few selected species, such as picked dogfish and porbeagle, were regularly retained and sold for human consumption. Nowadays, there are reports of new fisheries trawling in deep-waters, which capture limited quantities of deep-water sharks as bycatch. These sharks are mainly squaloids and are either discarded, processed for fishmeal or exported to other European countries for human consumption[129].

Small recreational fisheries for sharks exist, particularly in the southern North Sea around the island of Helgoland. Picked dogfish, small-spotted catshark, smooth-hound and tope shark are the major species landed.

7.4.2 Markets and trade

Although elasmobranch catches play a minor role in the German fishing industry, imports of sharks are quite important even if they have decreased substantially in the last few years. According to FAO statistics, German imports were higher in the early 1980s, peaking at 5 700 tonnes in 1984. According to EUROSTAT figures, in 1998 they were 1 760 tonnes, worth US$5.2 million. Picked dogfish and catsharks composed 23.2% of the volume and value of these. The great bulk of the imports consisted of whole frozen sharks (1 580 tonnes, worth US$4.4 million) of which 280 tonnes (US$713 200) were picked dogfish, 1 300 tonnes (US$3.7 million) of other sharks, plus negligible quantities of catsharks. Imports of fresh sharks only amounted to 160 tonnes (US$646 500) of which 90 tonnes (US$364 200) were picked dogfish, 38 tonnes (US$188 600) other sharks and 30 tonnes (US$93 700) catsharks. The decrease in imports of frozen shark has been noticeable while fresh shark imports have remained fairly stable. Imports of fillets were 30 tonnes in 1998, valued at US$112 400. These have risen recently, to peak at more than 410 tonnes in 1994 to decrease since then.

Figure 85 German shark imports by product forms in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

In 1998 South Africa was the main supplier of sharks to Germany, with 302 tonnes, worth US$953 300 followed by Singapore (290 tonnes, US$1.3 million), the USA (240 tonnes, US$611 300), Chile (220 tonnes, US$469 600), and Uruguay (135 tonnes, US$250 600). Until a few years ago Japan was the main exporter of sharks to Germany but since 1990, when imports from this source reached 1 200 tonnes, imports from Japan have dropped to bottom at 24 tonnes in 1998. In 1998 imports from South Africa were only of other sharks, as were those from Singapore, Chile, Uruguay and Japan. The great bulk of the imports from the USA consisted of frozen picked dogfish. In 1998 picked dogfish constituted much of the imports of fresh sharks, mainly from Norway and Denmark.

Figure 86 German shark imports by country of origin in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Most of the imported picked dogfish is destined for domestic consumption while other shark species, such as Carcharhinidae, are usually imported in frozen whole form and then processed and re-exported to other European countries. In Germany smoked picked dogfish backs and frozen sharks steaks of porbeagle and mako are particularly appreciated. Smooth-hound also has a good market. Other species marketed are nursehound, blue shark and angelshark. There is a preference for belly flaps, generally being used for smoking (Schillerlocken), but they are also sold fresh and frozen, skinned. Belly flaps are produced during the dressing of the fish and are individually skinned and washed prior to freezing. The preferred sizes are at least 30cm long and 1.25 cm wide[130].

Figure 87 German shark imports by species in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Picked dogfish (Dornhai in German) is the species usually used for the preparation of the two main products marketed in Germany: Schillerlocken and Seeaal (sea eel). Schillerlocken are smoked belly flaps, which are considered a gourmet speciality in Germany, a relatively expensive product. Their name is due to the fact that they curl during the smoking process, like the hair of the famed 18th century German poet and writer Friedrich Schiller. Picked dogfish are particularly appreciated and used for this preparation. Usually female specimens, which are larger than the males, are used as belly flaps are graded by length and longer ones are preferred. Twenty centimetres is the minimum length required for the German smoking market. North American picked dogfish are particularly appreciated as they are larger than Europeans but the quality of the latter is considered to be better because they are fattier and so are better for smoking. The word Seeaal indicate the backs (whole, skinless, headed and gutted, bellies removed), which are marketed fresh or smoked, with the latter obtaining higher prices. Seeaal is cheaper than Schillerlocken. Other shark species are marketed with names followed by the German vernacular name of the shark species. For example, the porbeagle, Heringshai in German, is traded as kalbfish; the smooth-hound, Grauhai in German, as Speckfish. The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), Eishai in German, appears also as Speckfish[131].

Table 59 German prices for shark meat

Date

Origin

Species

Grade

Product form

Price US$/kg

March 1998

Peru

Blue shark

10-30 kg/pc


Frozen headed & gutted (H&G)

1.20 c&f

Chile

Mako shark

2.60 c&f

October 1998

Morocco

Blue shark

10-40 kg/pc

H&G

1.60 c&f

USA

Picked dogfish

<6 kg/pc

Frozen belly flaps

1.87 cif

6-10 kg/pc

2.53 cif

>10 kg/pc

3.09 cif

July 1999

Canada


Small

Flaps

2.65 cif

Medium

4.85 cif

Large

5.51 cif

Source: GLOBEFISH European Fish Price Report.

In March 1999 100 g of Schillerlocken (20 cm length, 2 cm diameter) cost between US$2.70 (megastore) and US$3.60 (small shop). Canned Schillerlocken 85 g in oil cost US$2.70.

Germany re-exports part of its shark imports to other European countries. Exports of sharks were larger in the early 1980s, peaking at nearly 3 600 tonnes in 1982. In 1998 they were about 880 tonnes, worth US$3.0 million. In 1998 there was a further decline in exports of picked dogfish and catsharks. In 1996 these species constituted 19.3% of total volume and 10.1% of the value but in 1998 their share was 6.1% in volume and 2.9% in value. In 1998 most German exports were frozen, mostly whole sharks (840 tonnes, worth US$2.9 million) of which 19 tonnes were picked dogfish and 820 tonnes of other sharks. Exports of fresh sharks amounted to 24 tonnes, valued at US$56 200, of which 91.7% were picked dogfish.

Figure 88 German shark exports by product forms in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Figure 89 German shark exports by species in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Figure 90 German shark exports by country of destination in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

In 1998 Germany exported sharks only inside the European continent, with Italy as the main destination followed by Spain, Austria, Belgium and France. In 1998 exports to Italy were 716 tonnes, worth US$2.5 million, composed only of frozen other sharks.

Shark fins do not have a great market in Germany except for local Asian communities. Shark fin products are available in the Asian markets and restaurants of the major towns such as Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt.

Products from shark cartilage as capsules and powder are sold in Germany, usually imported from the USA.

In Germany demand for liver oil was high in the past, particularly in the textile and leather business, for paints and varnishes and for cosmetics. Nowadays, shark oil is also used in pharmaceutical products such as ointments and capsules.

Until a few years ago, the shark leather market was quite important in Germany. It was used for furniture, book bindings, shoes and handbags. Shark skin was imported as raw material and tanned. Increasing restrictions on the German tanning industry have led to imports of tanned skins. Shark leather was imported as whole skins. Nowadays, imports and production of shark leather are fairly limited.

Table 60 German elasmobranch catches by species in tonnes


1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

1957

1958

1959

Various sharks nei

-

100

100

100

200

200

300

300

400

300

Raja rays nei

200

100

100

200

200

200

200

200

200

200

Dogfish sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Greenland shark

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Large sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Picked dogfish

700

1 200

1 100

700

900

700

900

700

1 200

1 000

Porbeagle

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

900

1 400

1 300

1 000

1 300

1 100

1 400

1 200

1 800

1 500













1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

Various sharks nei

500

500

400

500

500

500

600

500

400

400

Raja rays nei

100

300

200

200

200

200

200

200

200

200

Dogfish sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

200

100

100

400

Greenland shark

-

-

-

200

200

100

200

-

-

-

Large sharks nei

-

300

200

100

100

200

0

100

-

-

Picked dogfish

900

700

400

500

600

500

700

800

800

800

Porbeagle

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

1 500

1 800

1 200

1 500

1 600

1 500

1 900

1 700

1 500

1 800













1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

Various sharks nei

300

300

200

400

148

176

171

27

57

60

Raja rays nei

100

100

200

400

100

157

85

133

256

108

Dogfish sharks nei

0

0

0

100

18

1

0

0

0

0

Greenland shark

-

-

0

-

6

0

0

2

0

0

Large sharks nei

0

-

-

-

-

41

11

51

40

154

Picked dogfish

800

1 200

1 300

1 000

416

280

321

129

417

71

Porbeagle

-

-

-

-

3

3

0

0

0

0

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

38

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Total

1 200

1 600

1 700

1 900

691

658

588

342

778

433

Table 60 German elasmobranch catches by species in tonnes (continued)


1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Various sharks nei

40

90

65

129

43

42

24

5

2

2

Raja rays nei

109

96

118

273

476

313

309

279

239

157

Dogfish sharks nei

0

0

6

43

-

-

-

-

0

0

Greenland shark

0

0

0

0

0

6

0

0

0

0

Large sharks nei

23

16

6

17

45

36

42

4

-

1

Picked dogfish

43

42

39

33

10

28

42

47

27

24

Porbeagle

0

-

-

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

8

68

4

2

29

28

6

0

0

1

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

0

0

4

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

223

312

242

500

603

453

423

335

268

185













1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997



Various sharks nei

1

2

2

133

440

292

309

139



Raja rays nei

56

6

3

20

59

35

65

74



Dogfish sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

19

12



Greenland shark

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0



Large sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0



Picked dogfish

26

6

56

8

0

0

0

0



Porbeagle

0

0

0

0

22

0

0

0



Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0



Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-



Total

83

14

61

161

521

327

393

225



Source: FAO - FIDI.


[129 ]OLIVER A., idem.
[130] KREUZER R., AHMED R., idem.
[131 ]LUDORFF W., idem.

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