Docapesca denies any irregularity in the purchase of sardines at the Quarteira auction

Docapesca will take legal action against the author of the post

File Image

Docapesca guarantees that there was no irregularity, or less clear situations, in the purchase of sardines at the Quarteira auction, despite the fact that a 600 kg batch of this species was effectively purchased for 7 cents per kilo, on Tuesday, day 16.

The company that manages all the auctions in the country has gone public to defend itself against the accusations contained in a post on the social network facebook, made by an alleged nephew of the owner of the vessel “Nossa Senhora dos Remédios”, in which the suitability of the company was called into question, for having paid that amount for each kilo of sardines to a local shipowner.

The publication was accompanied by an image of a sales map, which proves the transaction for the aforementioned amounts, whose veracity was confirmed by Docapesca itself.

But the prosecution collides, from the outset, on the fact that it is not the public company that buys the fish. «Docapesca can't do anything. They only assess the freshness and set the starting price for the auction. Afterwards, it only stops going down when the buyers want to”, he explained to Sul Informação Hugo Martins, from Quarpescas, an association of shipowners and fishermen to which the boat “Nossa Senhora dos Remédios”, which sold the fish, is linked.

In other words, it is the private buyers who end up setting prices, often unfairly, in the view of the association leader, as happened on Tuesday.

«Docapesca is not to blame for the 7 cents. But, deep down, it was a legal theft to the fisherman' by the buyer who, in Hugo Martins' view, 'should be aware' and not pay such a negligible amount for the sardines.

“Unfortunately, this happens a lot, throughout the year, and not just with sardines. Perhaps, we must change the system of auctions that we have», defended the director of Quarpesca.

Docapesca said that the low price paid for "four sardine vats with a total weight of 600 kilos" was due to low demand, motivated by restrictions on parties due to Covid-19, which prevent the holding of the traditional arraiais dos Santos Populares , but also to the lack of quality of the fish in question, due to its low degree of freshness, and the fact that the sardines are small.

«The size varies between 1 (larger) and 4 (smaller) and the degree of freshness can be E (Extra, with greater freshness), A or B (smaller freshness). In this specific case, the sardine sold was size 3, freshness grade B, that is, a smaller and poorer quality sardine».

Docapesca even reveals that, on that same day, the average price of sardines at the Quarteira auction was «66 cents» and the maximum price was 1,19 euros.

In the previous week (8th to 12th June), when there were two holidays and St. Anthony's Day, prices were much higher: average price 2,97 euros per kilo and maximum price 6 euros per kilo.

Although, as Hugo Martins emphasized, Docapesca is "only an intermediary" between the fishermen and the buyer, the accusations of post made on tuesday, accompanied by the invoice for the sale of the fish for a total value of 41,6 euros, are addressed to the company.

“How much did Docapesca charge market sellers? How much did it profit?”, he asks, arguing that “the case should be investigated”.

In the same post, the company's conduct is called into question, since it is stated that the vessel "unloaded 1000 kilos of sardines, of which they only weighed 600. Of the other 400, no trace".

Docapesca “strongly repudiates these assertions” and explains why.

"On June 16, the aforementioned vessel unloaded and sold 1524 kilos of sardines at the Quarteira auction and not just 600 kilos (as mentioned in the post), all of which were sold on that day", says the company.

«This is a “complaint” that reveals a manifest ignorance in the face of reality, bad faith and great lightness in calling into question not only the good name of the company, but that of its employees. Because we cannot condone this way of being, which is so easy and accessible these days, we are forced to take legal action against the authors of defamatory comments," added Docapesca.

The company, by the way, will take legal action against the author of the post on Facebook.