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Greece is fortunate in possessing an abundant supply of available water resources, including 17 000 km of coastline containing many sheltered bays, 52 000 ha of large coastal lagoons and inland waters which include rivers, artificial barrages and reservoirs, and 72 500 ha of natural lakes.

This wide diversity of environments enables many different forms of aquaculture to be practised. The oldest form of aquaculture in Greece is that of the extensive coastal lagoons, particularly in the area of Messolonghi, where management practices have remained little changed for hundreds of years.

In the last 50 years an industry for the intensive farming of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) has developed using techniques imported and adapted from other European countries.

One of the country's first carp (Cyprinus carpio) farms, near Varda in the Peloponnese, was established around 15 years ago using Israeli technology; now there are a number of mostly small units producing carp in ponds and cages, and a hatchery (imported from Hungary) has recently been constructed near Ioannina, primarily for fishery enhancement; a further farm for production is being constructed near Arta in the same region. There is currently only one intensive eel farm, also in the Arta region, which began recently.

Intensive farming of marine species, primarily sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and sea bream (Sparus aurata), currently attracting the greatest interest, is a recent development. The first fish were stocked in cages by Leros Aquaculture (Leros Island, Aegean Sea) in 1982, followed shortly afterwards by Cephalonian Fisheries (Cephalonia Island, Ionian Sea). The first marine hatchery, also in Cephalonia, was completed early in 1985. Now there are a number of other cage farms ongrowing fish and several more hatcheries in the construction and planning phases.

Although wild stocks of shellfish have been exploited for hundreds of years, true intensive cultivation has only started in Greece in the last five years. the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, is the principal species of interest, being grown on poles and long lines using Italian techniques mainly in the northern Aegean Sea. Potential exists for the culture of penaeid shrimps, but although projects are planned no culture presently takes place.

The present status of aquaculture in Greece is summarized in Table 1 (see p. 7).

One of the development objectives for aquaculture in Greece is to increase the availability of locally farmed fish and shellfish in Greece up to 20 000 t by the year 2000. It is a widely held view that one of the greatest opportunities for increasing production lies with bringing into use unexploited coastal lagoons and improving the management of existing lagoons; however, a number of major constraints exist to prevent this increase, among them problems of ownership, management, politics and last, but by no means least, the high cost of making improvements to lagoons set against the often proportionately small increases in production achieved.

Culture of species in fresh water, with the exception of eels, is constrained mainly by poor market prices, although plentiful sites exist and technology is straightforward.

Owing to the high value of marine species, especially bass and bream, the intensive culture of these species is currently attracting the most attention, and of all the sectors is perhaps the one where the greatest increase in production is most likely. It is also the sector where the requirements for technology and equipment are the most demanding.

Table 1 : The Present Status of Aquaculture in Greece

ActivityTotal Area
Employed (ha)
of Units
per Annum (t)
Extensive culture in coastal lagoons37 770462 400800
Intensive culture of trout in fresh water       25115  2 000171
Intensive and semi intensive culture of carp in fresh water    42023   124 33
Intensive culture of eels in fresh water     0.5 1      6   2
Intensive culture of marine species in cages  7   100 40
Marine fish hatcheries  21.3 106 fry 25
Intensive culture of mussels (poles/long lines)      2050    800200

N.B. The figures presented in Table 1 are intended only as indicators for the purpose of this report, and should only be regarded as approximate. The principal source is an estimate of the situation in 1985 made by the Agricultural Bank of Greece, and modified according to information received by this and other consultants during their visits to Greece in 1987.

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