Greek Aquaculture: € 546MM in sales, investments, and concerns about the long-term effects of the pandemic.
The 7th Annual Aquaculture Report, published by the Hellenic Aquaculture Producers Organization (HAPO) draws optimistic conclusions as to the growth prospects generated by the continuous increase in demand for farmed Greek fish, while reflecting on the concerns of the long-term effects of the pandemic on aquaculture companies. The report, which presents the industry’s developments during 2020, regarding production, economic data, investments, industry challenges, and contribution to local communities. This year’s edition is enriched with additional data on environmental sustainability and social responsibility of aquaculture in Greece.
Compared to 2019, in 2020, sea bream and sea bass production reached 117,500 tons, worth € 546.2MM, a 3% decrease in volume. Sales value remained stable. In 2021, the sector is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels with an estimated 3% production increase.
Furthermore, exports increased 5.6%, at 92,000 tons, worth €427MM. 79% of production was exported to 40 countries internationally, while the remaining 21% is estimated to have been sold domestically. As with previous years, the main markets for Greek aquaculture are Spain, Italy, and France, (where 56% of the Greek production was sold in 2020).
It is worth noting that, despite the difficulties in transport caused by border closures, the industry’s distribution network operated efficiently, constantly supplying all markets. However, the increase in exports in a time of global economic inactivity is partly due to the doubling of exports to Spain, that lost a significant part of its domestic production due to extreme weather conditions in early 2020.
In relation to competition from other countries, increased production, mainly from Turkey, created price pressures – a trend that continues in 2021. Short term, the industry has partially absorbed the decreased sales and price pressure caused by the pandemic and the competition. Long term, the pressure created by international competition, coupled with price increase on all basic aquaculture raw and production materials, creates a difficult equation for all companies in the industry.
In the context of the publication of the 7th Annual Aquaculture Report, Mr. Giannis Pelekanakis, Director of European Affairs for HAPO, commented: “No one could have imagined that the sector’s exports in the first year of the pandemic would increase. As if in one night, the biggest customers of Greek aquaculture cancelled their orders, the borders in many countries closed and tourism went into hibernation. The existence of this industry is not based solely on the demand of our products, but also on the ability to immediately distribute them globally. Both production management and supply chain operations were challenged, but ultimately worked effectively thanks to the dedication of all employees in the industry. Luck also played a part, when due to unforeseen circumstances, the Spanish market absorbed at the right time the production surplus created by the closing of the markets. Of course, the increase in exports doesn’t mean that no losses were observed. Several companies in the industry recorded losses, while their resilience continues to be tested intensively for the second consecutive year, as price pressure continues to exist. At the same time, inflation in fish farming influx has caused a rise in production costs. Despite these challenges, however, the ever-growing demand for Greek aquaculture products creates an ocean of opportunities for the industry and national economy, as well as jobs – a fact which makes state support necessary. Completion of maritime spatial planning remains the industry’s top priority. The delay in the establishment of aquaculture zones generates additional damage and uncertainty, and the state must provide a definitive solution to this chronic backlog. “Otherwise, we run the risk of trapping Greek fish farming in a state of stagnation while handing away our growth prospects to the competition.”
Here you may find the 2021 Annual Report.
If the link does not work, you may download the pdf from here.