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1.1 Terms of reference

The Greek Government, assisted by the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are engaged in a project whose main purpose is to support the aquaculture in marine and inland waters in Greece.

As part of the project operations, FAO assigned Mr S. Arai as consultant (eel culture), from 17 June to 16 July 1987 with the following terms of reference.

To study the potential for the development of eel farming in Greece.

In particular, the consultant would:

  1. work with counterparts involved with the project and carry out with them a pre-arranged schedule of visits and meetings;

  2. review available information and prepare a synopsis of the present situation;

  3. assess the potential for eel farming, identify the main obstacles to development of a profitable operation, and identify zones for priority development;

  4. advise on the technology of eel culture giving particular attention to:

  5. propose strategies for the development of eel culture in Greece;

  6. provide limited technical help and advice in response to particular problems encountered;

  7. provide a 2-day seminar on the aspects of eel culture relevant to Greece;

  8. prepare a report which should be self-contained and suitable for inclusion in the plan as an appendix, and written in Greece within the assignment period.

1.2 Background information

The total production of eels in Greece was 776 t in 1984 and most production came from extensive aquaculture. The sole intensive unit produced 4 t in the same year. Most of the production was exported, mainly to Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands (ADCP/REP/87/29).

Fisheries cooperatives and eel-farms were visited in the areas of Messolonghi, Amvrakikos and Kavalla, according to a schedule arranged and conducted by the staff of the National Centre for Marine Research and the Regional Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. The visited areas of Greece were the main eel production regions, where farms were already operating. Also in this period, the consultant observed possible sites for eel culture development.

Discussions on stocking methods for eels were held with staff from the Regional Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The fixed fish traps, which belong to the Fisheries Cooperative of Messolonghi lagoons, were visited. Eels are mainly harvested from September to November. Catches during the harvest season are as much as 20 t per day after heavy rains. At these times there are high mortalities because of the high stocking density and poor water conditions.

A private eel-farm in Mataranga near Lake Trichonis was visited. The farm had lost most of its stock during last summer. The ponds of the farm lacked essential facilities for intensive eel culture, such as an adequate water supply system and an aeration system. A pump station near the lake was under construction; the consultant suggested improvements to pond structures and the installation of aeration.

The Patrasarea, beside the Louros river, near Preveza, was visited with Dr. Klaoudatos and the staff of the Regional Fisheries Department, to identify the possibility of intensive eel culture. At present, the river's water seems to be suitable for eel culture; however, use of groundwater (16–18°C) was suggested to avoid problems of water pollution.

Tsamaka's eel-farm near Arta was visited. The farm used a running water system and ponds were supplied with groundwater (17–18°C). Eels were fed with Italian formulated eel feed available in Greece. The farm produced about 2 t last year and this year the production will increase up to 15 t. The installation of an aeration system was suggested to increase production.

A commercial trout-farm in Simvoli Seron near Kavalla was visited. The farm was supplied with spring water of 16–17°C, at about 700 l/s. The owner wanted to culture eels in his ponds. The farm had a good potential for eel production.

Two hot spring areas were visited near Kavalla and near Xanthi. These could be used as heat energy sources for intensive eel culture. The possibility of eel culture development in the area was discussed with the staff of the Fishery Department.

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