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Squeezing More Swiss Into “Swiss Made” Watches

In an effort to reinforce the ‘Swiss made” label, watch makers have decided to add more locally-manufactured parts to their time pieces.

Squeezing More Swiss Into “Swiss Made” Watches

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

How Swiss should a Swiss watch actually be? After more than a quarter century of intense pondering and negotiation, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) decided in 2007 that, in order for a watch to deserve its "Swiss Made" label, 80% of its mechanical parts had to be Swiss, up from 50% at present.

Four years later, Swiss watch makers have yet to put the 80% target in practice. It now seems they may not have to, as the FH says it is ready to settle instead for a modest 60%. The figure emerged after "numerous discussions with European partners and federal authorities," said Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the FH, in an interview this week with Switzerland's Le Temps. "Various agreements between Switzerland and Europe imposed this percentage," he added.

Some observers suspect the climb-down is due to fears about hidden protectionist measures among European, especially French competitors. Not all Swiss watch makers, however, are happy about the new agreement.

"The new amendment makes the project a lot less credible," says Olivier Muller, a consultant in the sector. "The 80% requirement was the main pillar of the reform, and 60% is not that different from 50%."

Swiss watchmakers of low and mid-priced products, on the other hand, lobbied to keep the original 50% parts quota in place, arguing that reforming the rules might trigger significant job losses. Jean-Daniel Pasche believes the reinforced "Swiss Made" label will have the opposite effect, that of strengthening the country's industrial base.

Read the full article by Bastien Buss in French.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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