Greek social media were recently flooded with inaccurate and malicious mistruths targeted toward the aquaculture industry. Given the ease and speed with which misinformation spreads online today, we believe it is our duty to provide clarifications on the issues raised, in the hope that valid information will protect those who wish to be well-informed and prevent them from, unwillingly, reproducing the exaggerations and lies that have been published.
Starting at the beginning:
Greece exports each year some 115,000 tons of aquaculture fish to 40 countries in Europe and North America, reaching over 600 million well-informed buyers and consumers. Aquaculture does not require the use of chemicals in the production process; nevertheless, Greek aquaculture fish are checked, daily, by all the pertinent health & safety authorities in each of the countries they are delivered to and their track record – that goes back 30 years- is spotless when it comes to chemical residues.
Aquaculture – mariculture in particular- is a relatively new sector of animal production that was developed, right from the start, on a healthy basis of pioneering scientific and technical achievements. It is a highly competitive export sector, controlled by rigid legislature and regulations, as well as local and global best practices, that were developed to protect consumers worldwide and, in effect, protect aquaculture itself against amateur practices and hidden agendas. All HAPO members comply with the strict regulations that govern the aquaculture industry, locally and internationally.
In response to the content that is reproduced online regarding the use of formaldehyde and antibiotics in the production process, we wish to clarify that, whenever the need arises, Greek aquaculture only uses treatments that have been thoroughly checked; these are always issued to our fish under close veterinary supervision. In these instances, fish are not released until every trace of the medication has left their systems.
Moving to specifics:
- Are only issued by expert vets
- Are inspected by the pertinent authorities (Veterinary Public Health Divisions in Greece)
- Are authorized by Greece’s National Drug Organization
- Fish in our farms are fed with GMO and chemical additive-free dry feed, which consists of fishmeal and fish oils sourced sustainably, is produced under strict E.U. regulations and officially checked by the General Directorate of Rural Economy and Veterinary.
Greek aquaculture is proud of its people, who have devoted their time, hard work and expertise towards making the aquaculture industry an innovator and pioneer internationally. We employ experienced expert scientists -vets, biologists, ichthyologists- to raise our fish with care, always aware of the high standards of quality our consumers demand and deserve. None of them would compromise their dignity nor their scientific status for the, alleged, illicit profit of their companies.
It is truly shameful that Greek aquaculture, the export champion, the industry with the smallest environmental footprint compared to any other animal production activity, that employs thousands of Greeks, directly or indirectly, all around the country, is under attack with such blatant, vitriolic lies.
The most demanding markets, the largest traders, whole-sellers and retailers, emblematic ΗΟ.RE.CA businesses and millions of well-informed consumers around the world trust and prefer our fish. That is the best possible answer to this deliberate, prejudiced misrepresentation of the truth.