Annual Report 2023

Greek Aquaculture: stability in production and sales, strengthening of exports, intense competition, improved prices, but concern about the increasing cost of production and intense concern due to continuing inflationary pressures, exchange rate fluctuations, and growing competition are the main conclusions of the 9th Annual Aquaculture Report issued by the Hellenic Aquaculture Producers Organization (HAPO), presenting the developments of the sector for the past year.

In more detail, in 2022, sales of Greek farmed fish amounted to 137,000 tons, valued at 744 million euros, showing a marginal increase of 1% in volume and 14% in sales value compared to the previous year. Sea bream and sea bass accounted for 92% of sales (126,700 tons) and 8% for all other species (10,300 tons).

The industry’s export orientation was further strengthened as exports reached 104,192 tons, valued at 600.6 million euros, showing an increase of almost 4% in volume and 20% in sales value. 82% of the production was distributed in the EU and third countries, while the remaining 18% was in the domestic market. Traditional markets for Greek farmed fish remain Italy, Spain, and France. Despite increased competition, average prices for both main traded species improved throughout 2022 (+3% for sea bream, +19% for sea bass).

At the same time, the implementation of co-financed production investments from the Fisheries Operational Program continued intensively, as did actions to enhance the sustainability of the industry, focusing on protecting marine ecosystems and improving the welfare of farmed fish.

Challenges of the past year include intense inflationary pressures and an additional 10% increase in production costs due to the revaluation of raw materials used in fish feed. Competition from Turkey was also significant, as its significantly increased production and the devaluation of the lira made its products highly competitive and facilitated market penetration.

Commenting on the publication of the 9th Annual Aquaculture Report, Mr. Yiannis Pelekanakis, Director of European Affairs at HAPO, stated, “2022 was a special year as the industry managed to maintain its production and successfully supply the markets in a negative international economic environment, while also strengthening its outward orientation. Improving trade terms in a difficult year demonstrates the confidence that consumers worldwide have in Greek aquaculture products and provides incentive to explore new opportunities in existing markets as well as the search for new markets and product formats that could further enhance outward orientation, profitability, and the overall outlook of the industry in the coming years.

On the other hand, in 2023, the loss of purchasing power of consumers in key EU markets has become apparent, with a shift towards cheaper products affecting the course of Greek exports. Additionally, price fluctuations are observed, which are expected to restrain the developmental trajectory of the industry next year. It is not clear when the market will stabilize and what the implications will be for Greek aquaculture, as everything will depend on the duration and intensity of this economic crisis. At present, industry companies are exploring all possible solutions to contain production costs and strengthen their competitiveness and resilience.

Project co-funded by Greece and the European Union

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