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3.1 Environmental factors

The survey of the coastal environment of 13 countries indicated significant potential for increasing aquatic food production by aquaculture. The potential, however, varies among these countries depending on the suitability of the environment for culture of various species and the applicability of culture systems. The estimate of potential prepared by the Mission (Table 3) does not consider the timeframe for aquaculture development, nor the market for the products, which are discussed later in the report.

3.2 Technical and economic factors

Table 3 shows the potential for expanding aquaculture based on the coastal environment in the Mediterranean region. It is, however, important to consider the state-of-the-art of aquaculture and to estimate the time-frame for development of economically successful culture of various species. Table 4 was prepared on the basis of literature reviews, observations and interviews during the survey and summarizes the Mission's conclusions, indicating the degree of probability of commercial-scale development within a period of two to ten years.

Table 2

 Estimated production in tonsCountry Total
Sea BassSea BreamMulletSoleEelOysterMussel
CYPRUS     0       0       1    0       0       0       0        1
EGYPT   20   1001 000    0   200       0       0  1 320
FRANCE    5     10     20    1     105 0008 000 13 046
GREECE100   3001 000  50   600   2001 800  4 050
ISRAEL    0     10   200    0       0       0       0     210
ITALY5501 1002 2003001 700       0  5 100*10 950
LIBYA    0       0       0    0       0       0       0         0
MALTA    0       0       0    0       0       0       0         0
MOROCCO    0       0       0    0       0       0       0         0
SPAIN100   200   800  50   100     50   600  1 900
TUNISIA  40     80   350    5   240     20   100     835
TURKEY  60   100   500  20   250       0       0     930
YUGOSLAVIA    0       0       0    0       0   200   300     500
SPECIES TOTAL8751 9006 0714263 1005 47015 90033 742

* Unofficially estimated at 35 000 t

Table 3

 Controlled environmentMMHHHHMHLHMHH
 Controlled environmentMMHHHHMHMHMHH
 Controlled environmentLLHLLLLLLLLLL
 Controlled environmentLLHHLMLLLHLMM
 Controlled environmentLLHMLHLLLHLLL
 Controlled environmentMMHHMHLMLHMML

1 Excludes time frame and market considerations
H = High
M = Moderate
L = Low

3.2.1 Less than two years High probability

During the next two years, valli culture of sea bass, sea bream, sole, mullet and eel, using a wild stock of juveniles, has a high probability of economic success in some countries, including Greece, Tunisia and Turkey.

Methods used for oyster and mussel culture in some places within the Mediterranean region could be applied in others to develop economically successful ventures during this time period. Seed collected from nature would be used for oyster and mussel farming during the next few years but hatchery production of seed may become economical in later years. Furthermore, during this time period, oyster culture practices in other parts of the world could be adapted for use in the Mediterranean region to increase production or to improve profitability. Moderate probability

There is a moderate probability that pond or cage culture of sea bass, using hatchery-produced seed, and pond culture of mullet, using seed collected from nature, will become economically successful during this period. Low probability

It is unlikely that economically successful culture of sea bass, sea bream, sole or eel in controlled environment systems will be possible in the Mediterranean region during the next two years.

There is also a low probability for development of economically successful culture of sole in ponds or of marine shrimp, freshwater prawns, or clams, by any method during this time period. Finally, it is unlikely that oyster or mussel culture, using hatchery-produced seed, will become economically successful during the next two years.

3.2.2 Three to five years High probability

There is a high probability that economically successful culture of sea bass in ponds or cages using hatchery-produced seed will develop during this period. Sea bass hatcheries are already technically successful and it is expected that production costs will be reduced in the near future, which should lead to successful commercial aquaculture.

Table 4

SpeciesCulture SystemSeed Source0–23–56–10Over 10
Sea BassvalliwildHHHH
cage or pondhatcheryMHHH
controlled environmenthatcheryLLMH
Sea Bream valliwildHHHH
cage or pondhatcheryLMHH
controlled environmenthatcheryLLMH
controlled environmenthatcheryLLMM
controlled environmentwildLMHH
Marine shrimppondhatcheryLMHH
controlled environmenthatcheryLMHH
Freshwater PrawnpondhatcheryLMMM
controlled environmenthatcheryLLMM
Amberjack (Seriola dumerilii)cagewildLLMM
Turbot (Psetta maxima)controlled environmenthatcheryLLMM

H = High
M = Moderate
L = Low

There is also a high probability that economically successful polyculture of mullet with carp (Cyprinus carpio) and tilapia (Tilapia spp.) in ponds will develop during this period. The fish farms now being built at El Zawyia and the farm planned for Abbassa, Egypt, should demonstrate procedures for commercial-scale mullet culture in ponds. Moderate probability

There is a moderate probability of economically successful culture of eels, using wild elvers, in controlled environment systems which are already encouraging, on an experimental basis, in Italy.

There is a moderate probability that culture of sea bream in ponds or cages and sole in ponds and valli culture systems, both using hatchery-produced seed, will develop within 3–5 years. Experimental hatcheries for sea bream are already successful, although certain problems must be solved before production-scale hatcheries can be built. One main problem with sea bream culture at present is the low survival rate of larvae, which is only about 5 percent to juvenile stage. Although the larval culture of sole is successful, satisfactory feeds and feeding procedures for fry and juveniles have been developed only on a laboratory scale so far.

There is a moderate probability of successful culture of marine shrimp in ponds, using hatchery-produced seed, during this period. The Mediterranean shrimp (Penaeus kerathurus) and the Japanese shrimp (P. japonicus) have been successfully matured in captivity; the larvae have been reared, and the post-larvae have been grown to adult size. However, successful pilot and commercial-scale tests are needed to provide a sound basis for commercial shrimp farming.

There is also a moderate probability of the development of economically successful shrimp culture using intensive, controlled environment systems, which are already successful at experimental and pilot-scale level in Mexico and the United States.

Methods developed for pond culture of the freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium) have been applied in economically successful ventures in other parts of the world. There is a moderate probability that these methods might be applied in at least some parts of the Mediterranean region during this period, if an attractive market develops for freshwater prawns. Low probability

Although the culture of mullet in ponds using seed collected from nature has a high probability of success, mullet culture, using hatchery-produced seed, has a low probability of success during this period. Mullet larvae have been reared successfully in laboratory-scale experiments, but additional development and pilot-scale testing will be required before commercially viable mullet hatcheries can be established. The hatcheries proposed for mullet culture projects in Egypt may expedite the development of this technology.

There is also a low probability that the culture of oysters, mussels and clams, using hatchery seed, will become economically successful during this period. Although methods of producing mussels and oysters in hatcheries are technically successful, it is usually more economical to utilize seed collected from nature, if available. Therefore, the use of hatchery-produced seed is likely to have only a low probability of application, unless more economic hatchery methods are developed or unless the availability of seed from natural waters is drastically reduced.

Although clams can also be grown in hatchery systems, procedures for planting seed clam and protecting them from predators have not been developed to the point of commercial application. There is a low probability of successful clam culture using hatchery-produced seed during this period.

Development of economically successful culture of sea bass and sea bream and sole in controlled environment systems is estimated to have a low probability during this period.

3.2.3 Six to ten years High probability

There is a high probability that successful culture of sea bream, sole, and shrimp in ponds, using hatchery-produced seed, will develop during this time period.

There is also a high probability that controlled environment systems for rearing shrimp and eels will become commercially viable. Moderate probability

There is a moderate probability that controlled environment systems will become economically successful for sea bass, sea bream, sole and freshwater prawns during this time period.

There is a moderate probability of successful culture of mullet in ponds, clams on-bottom, and oysters off-bottom, using hatchery-produced seed during this period, and the probability increases to high beyond ten years..

Other species with moderate aquaculture potential in this region include the turbot (Psetta maxima) and the amberjack (Seriola dumerilii). Turbot larvae have been reared successfully on a laboratory scale, but additional work is required to develop commercially applicable procedures. Rapid growth and favourable conversion rates have been achieved with a variety of feeds, including pellets. The optimum growing temperature, 18–22°C, suggests the need for culture in controlled environment systems, since surface temperatures in the Mediterranean exceed this level during the summer.

Amberjack occurs throughout the Mediterranean, grows rapidly and can be kept in captivity. Larval culture has not yet been developed, but juveniles might be collected from the sea and grown in floating cages following the methods used in Japan for Seriola quinqueradiata. However, even if juveniles could be obtained, adequate supplies of low-priced fish would be needed for feed and culture would be limited by low winter temperatures.

3.3 Potential increase in production

The exchange of culture technology among the countries bordering the Mediterranean and the development and application of new methods could yield a significant increase in the production of certain species. The analysis of present production by aquaculture, and the environmental, technical and economic factors suggest the increases shown in Table 5. These estimates assume that a regional development programme will be implemented with appropriate national actions, including financial aid and infrastructure support. It is also assumed that the technology for culture of various species will be developed and tested and that it will be applied in production-scale farms.

Aquaculture production in the developed countries of the region is steadily increasing and it is estimated that in Italy and on the Mediterranean coast of France and Spain production could be increased from the 1978 level of about 26 000 t to about 35 000 t by the year 1985, and to 57 000 t by the year 1990; 1.4 and 2.2 times the present level.

It is projected that production of those species selected for development in the ten remaining countries, currently about 8 000 t, could be increased to about 16 000 t by the year 1985 and to 47 000 t by the year 1990; 2.1 and 6.0 times the present level. In total, production by aquaculture in the 13 countries studied could be increased from the 1978 level of about 33 000 t to about 52 000 t by the year 1985, and to 104 000 t by the year 1990; 1.5 and 3.1 times the present level.

3.4 Estimated demand

The probability that production of various species will be increased by aquaculture raises questions concerning the demand for these species for domestic consumption and for export. Although the time available for the Mission did not permit a detailed marketing study of each country, information was gathered from various sources to provide a basis for an estimate of the unfilled demand for aquaculture species. Sources of information included a review of published literature concerning supply and demand trends in the Mediterranean region for fisheries products generally and specifically for species with aquaculture potential. Country visits provided an opportunity for discussions with officials of government fisheries agencies, government and university aquaculture specialists and operators of commercial fish and shellfish farms.

On the completion of surveys in 13 countries bordering the Mediterranean, each team member provided his best estimate of domestic and export demand for various aquaculture species in each country. The composite estimate of unfilled demand for nine major aquaculture species in each of the 13 countries is shown in Table 6.

It is evident from Table 6 that there is a high demand for each of the listed aquaculture species in one or more of the surveyed countries. However, demand varies widely among countries ranging from sea bass, sea bream and shrimp, which are in high demand in 10 or 11 of the 13 countries, to eels and clams, which are in high demand in one and three countries respectively. Other species in high demand in most countries include mullet and sole: 9 out of 13. In contrast, high demand for oysters and mussels was found in only three and five of the 13 countries respectively. Estimated total demand among the countries bordering the Mediterranean sea would need to take into account the human population and the annual per caput consumption of fishery products.

Table 5
(in tons)

Estimated ProductionSea BassSea BreamMulletSoleEelOysterMusselShrimpTotalEstimated increase in production
For: France, Italy, Spain  
19786551 3103 0203511 8105 05013 700*025 896 
19851 9502 8003 5206202 7006 40017 00040035 3901.4 times the 1978 level
19907 1008 0004 5501 4004 7008 00022 0001 50057 2502.2 times the 1978 level
For: Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Yugoslavia  
19782205903 051751 2904202 20007 846 
19851 6101 4606 371751 5001 5703 50041016 4962.1 times the 1978 level
19907 35010 75013 6007502 8003 6006 1001 85046 8006.0 times the 1978 level
For: All 13 countries  
1978        33 742 
1985        51 8861.5 times the 1978 level
1990        104 0503.1 times the 1978 level

* Production in Italy is unofficially estimated at 35 000 t, instead of 5 100 tons. If this is so, mussel production can amount to 43 600 t in 1985 and 48 400 t in 1990

Table 6

(D = Domestic; E = Export)

CountryEstimated Demand
Demand by Species
(No. of countries)
HIGH1101109  09012305033106
MODERATE  27  283 04736664754  35
LOW  06  051130695474656  02

H = High
M = Moderate
L = Low

The projected increase in production by aquaculture in 1985 in the thirteen countries (Table 5) was considered against estimated regional and domestic demand (Annex II). This analysis indicated that the projected increase of about 18 000 t for the 13 countries studied should not present major marketing difficulties within the region as the current Mediterranean landings of fisheries products amount to only about 800 000 tons. However, it is necessary to analyze the marketing situation, country by country, and to evaluate absorptive capacity of domestic markets in regard to the additional quantities of various species expected to be available by 1985. This analysis, based on the limited amount of information available, indicated possible local marketing problems in Cyprus, Greece, Morocco, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.

In Cyprus, where the contemplated production increase is over 40 percent of the present catch, it will be necessary to investigate marketing aspects in greater detail. Even under the assumption of additional market promotion activities, there is a possibility of over-production of sea bass and shrimp, which would have to be exported. However, a return of the tourist trade to Cyprus would increase the domestic market for fisheries products significantly. The present fish shortage in the northeastern area of Cyprus, with per caput consumption of only 400 g/y, indicates a strong demand for mullet.

With regard to Greece, it appears that additional promotion will be required to expand the market for sea bass and oysters.

In Morocco, promotional activities will be required for sea bass and oyster and the export possibilities for the latter should also be studied.

For Tunisia, export markets for eel and oyster may have to be sought if the demand for these species in the domestic market proves inadequate, despite promotional efforts.

Yugoslavia would be advised to organize market promotion for all the species for which increased production by culture is foreseen and possibly export markets will have to be identified for sea bass and mussel.

More detailed market studies should be conducted during the planning stage of specific aquaculture projects, especially in the countries and for species discussed above. Furthermore, market development activities on a national or regional basis are necessary for certain species.

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