The most important thing in any fish culture operation is the supply of seedfish. Although no information on glass eel migration was available, they are likely to be present to some extent in the coastal areas, lagoons or river mouths. It is recommended that studies on migration and stock of glass eels should be carried out by relevant universities or by the National Centre for Marine Research. Some elvers are harvested in the lagoons from September to November and are presently sold in mixed batches with larger eels. These elvers or middle sized eels could be used as seedfish for intensive eel culture.
For the present, glass eels could be imported from France or England.
The climatic conditions are favourable almost all the year round for eel culture. There are many natural lakes, reservoirs and rivers. Subterranean water resources and hot springs are also available. Despite this potential, the production of eels from inland waters in 1984 only amounted to 776 t.
There are many suitable places for intensive pond or tank eel culture in the Amvrakikos area. There are also possible places in the Kavalla area.
Although the consultant could not visit Lake Kremasta near Karpenisi, the use of cages for eel farming in the artificial lake represents a further area of potential. Thus, in natural lakes or reservoirs, cage culture of eel can be introduced.
Subterranean water resources are available in most of the country, but these resources are utilized mainly for trout culture at present. Water temperatures of some of the trout-farms are 16–18°C all the year round. These waters could also be used for intensive eel culture.
Warmwater resources are used principally for medical purposes and to supply energy for vegetable production in greenhouses. It should also be possible to utilize these heat energy resources in artificially heated intensive eel culture.
The use of brackishwater resources, in the form of pumped semi-intensive to intensive ponds may also be feasible, though energy costs could have to be assessed carefully.
The final scale of potential depends on the relative economic viability of the different approaches to intensive eel culture, which depends in turn on the relative prices of raw materials and the value of production. Although eels can be grown effectively and safely at 17–18°C, the capital costs of development may require faster growth rates and hence warmer water. In this case, the main developments may centre on the use of warmed spring waters.
If production methods can be kept simple and cheap, cooler spring waters could be used. Without a full inventory of land and water resources, it would be difficult to define the likely potential of production, though on the basis of single units visited, a potential of 500–1 000 t might be reasonable given suitable economic conditions. Given exceptional conditions, supporting higher-cost methods of production, output of several times this level might be attainable.
Formulated eel feeds imported from Italy are available in Greece and the price (130 Dr/kg) is cheaper than that in Japan (equivalent to 250 Dr/kg). However, raw feed supply is limited.
As most of the ingredients of a formulated eel feed are available on the Greek market, feed could be manufactured in Greece using local ingredients, given suitable market demand. Locally based feeding experiments with the practical eel feed would be required, to establish suitable feed formulation and quality. However, it would be necessary to demonstrate the potential for a significant eel industry to justify specialized effort on feed development.
At a local level, training workshops could be held, using outside eel culture experts, and a series of study tours could be organized to other European centres. For selected individuals, possibly including Government specialist and advisory staff, overseas training in the form of study tours, practical sessions, and short courses, could be arranged. The most important subjects, in general would be: disease and its control, feed formulation and feeding techniques (particularly of glass eel and elvers), water quality management, and the collecting, sorting and grading of young eels.