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Newsletter July 2011


Aquaculture: Sustainable Seafood

Greece is a leading producer of seafood and Greek aquaculture holds second position in the EU after the United Kingdom in total production figures.

Aquaculture is playing a major role in the global production of food, as natural stocks dwindle and demand increases worldwide. With its abundant seas, history of fishing, and access to export markets, Greece is ideally situated to continue its role as a major supplier of seafood—both fish and shellfish—to key markets.

For select varieties, Greece is the top producer in the EU; it is first in production of both European gilthead sea bream and Mediterranean sea bass, with a 72% share of each variety. The country produces 370,000,000 fry and 150,000 tons of sea bream and bass, supplying EU markets. More than 85% of the fish is exported.

In addition, the aquaculture industry supports more than 10,000 jobs, primarily in regional Greece—both on islands and in remote areas. In recent years the aquaculture industry has consolidated significantly, through mergers and acquisitions, and today, even though more than 100 firms operate in the sector, six listed companies in the Athens Stock Exchange control over 70% of domestic production:

Aquaculture has developed into an industry with national importance; farmed sea bream and sea bass are among the four most important products of Greece (together with olive oil, tobacco and cotton), holding second place in Greek agricultural product exports. Production value amounts to 400 million Euro and 75 million Euro for fish and fry respectively. In Greece companies operate 333 floating fish farming production units and 39 fish hatchery stations.

In addition to fish, aquaculture enterprises operate 590 shellfish production units in the country, with production reaching 25,000 tons and a value of 10 million Euro. Mussel farming holds a significant position in the production of shellfish.

The majority of mussel farming units operate in six prefectures:
• Prefecture of Thessaloniki
• Prefecture of Pieria
• Prefecture of Imathia
• Prefecture of Preveza
• Prefecture of Kavala
• Prefecture of Fthiotida

Investing in aquaculture had been robust. Some key parameters of the licensing procedure include:
• Suitability of space
• Suitability of aquatic medium
• Environmental impact
• Rearing process

The licensing procedure has been decentralized to the 13 Greek Regional Authorities and today all licenses are issued by the competent Regional Authority. The New Investment Incentives Law (3908/201) provides investors with generous incentives.
• Tax breaks
• Cash grants
• Leasing subsidies

The percentage of grants, subsidies and tax breaks is directly related to the size of the company that will implement the investment (large, medium, small, micro) and the exact geographical location selected for establishment. Notably, the percentage of grants, subsidies or tax breaks cannot exceed 50% of the investment cost.

Basic types of farmed fish in Greece:
Sparus Aurata (Gilthead sea bream)
Dicentrarchus Labrax (Mediterranean sea bass)
Oncorynchus Mikiss (Rainbow trout)
Anguilla Spp (Eels)
Putazzo Puntazzo (Sharpsnout sea bream)
Paguellus Erythrinus (Common Pandora)
Pagrus Pagrus (Red porgy)
Diplodus Sargus (White seabream)
Thynnus Thynnus (Northern blue fin tuna)
Solea Solea (Sole or Dover sole)
Mugil Cephalus (Flathead grey mullet)
Dentex Dentex (Dentex)
Sciaena Umbra (Brown meager)