Breaking down the myths surrounding Greek aquaculture fish
An ichthyopathologist provides scientific answers concerning fish farming.
Must they give hormones to fish, so they grow faster? Do aquaculture fish live crammed into each other in the cages? What do they eat? Are they full of antibiotics? In marine areas with aquaculture activity is the sea filthy and unsuitable for swimming?
These are just a few of the myths that we often hear about aquaculture fish.
Through a series of 5 short videos, Mrs. Katerina Lytra, Senior Veterinarian & Aquaculture Specialist, answers all these questions by providing scientifically substantiated information about the production of fish, their food, freshness and origin, the traceability process, medicines, and antibiotics, as well as the environment in which the fish live.
Below, some of the truths about Greek aquaculture:
- Fish are an organism whose growth cannot be accelerated artificially, that is, by putting hormones in food. Fish need no less than 3 months in the hatchery and 18 months in the cages at sea to reach the marketable weight of 400 gr.
- If the fish lived in unclean waters, they would not survive. Water quality is vital to the success of fish farming and is therefore kept in good condition by producers. This is also the reason that the fish cages in which fish live, are located in the open seas where there are strong currents and great depths.
- At HAPO’s fish farming units, fish are fed with fully balanced fish feeds that consist of 20% – 40% fishmeal, 15% fish oils and a mixture of vitamins and trace elements, such as vitamins C, E, etc. The composition of the feed simulates the eating habits of each species of fish in nature.
- Like all farmed animals, fish are affected by diseases. For welfare purposes, as well as the protection of the fish stock, treatments may be given by Veterinarians-Ichthyopathologists, should the need arise. The medicinal substances administered are licensed by the AEO for use in fish. For the complete removal of the drug from their body, a waiting time of approx. 20 days after the treatment is observed, before they are placed on the market to be consumed. It is forbidden to sell them earlier.
- The condition of the water and the seabed is monitored daily using underwater cameras, analysis, divers, and regular net changes, and in the event that something deviates from the limits, corrective actions are taken. For the protection of the environment, fish cages are moved to an adjacent area, for as long as it takes in to restore the environment, as the sea has the capacity for self-purification. Fish farming in Natura areas is not prohibited. However, it is forbidden to place fisheries above meadows with Posidonia oceanica or other algae. No fish farming permits are issued in these areas.
- Greek aquaculture fish arrive at the fishmongers on the same day or even a few hours from when they are caught, as these controlled quantities are fished to order. Their hygiene is controlled by the Veterinary Authorities and a statutory Self-Control system is applied, based on which they are licensed for distribution. They are always transported in isothermal boxes with ice and therefore arrive fresh at the point of sale, while maintaining their nutritional value.