Broadly speaking, the aquaculture “support industry” consists of the following sectors:
The “material input” sector can be further broken down as follows:
|Capital items||-||buildings (e.g., hatcheries, food-stores, processing sheds) general items (e.g., boats, vehicles, pumps)|
|-||special aquaculture items (e.g., tanks cages, feeders, special machinery)|
|-||disease treatment agents|
|-||special aquaculture items (e.g., cage nets)|
This section examines in particular the “material input” sector outlined above, concentrating primarily on those items manufactured in Greece. Full details of companies active in, or with goods or services of relevance to, the Greek aquaculture industry are given in Appendix B (see B3 for index).
Wood is an essential material in the construction of cages, especially at present in Greece where smaller cages predominate. Three categories of wood are available:
|Greek produced softwood||35 000|
|Imported softwood||55 000|
|Greek produced laminated wood||85 000|
Greek wood, produced predominantly in the forests of Evritania and Drama, is comparatively cheap, but generally has too many knots and cannot be easily obtained in lengths greater than 4 m, thus making it unsuitable for use in cage construction. Both the imported softwood and laminated wood are, however, suitable. The laminated wood has the advantage that it can be ordered in any size and is said to be stronger and of more consistent quality than ordinary softwoods; however, it is significantly denser and cages constructed from it float lower in the water; it is also the most expensive. The most favoured wood is therefore mixed imported softwood, commonly labelled “Swedish” regardless of origin.
The volume of wood required in the construction of a typical 2-walkway cage collar taking a 5 m × 5 m net is approximately 1 m3; for a larger 4-walkway collar taking a 7 m × 7 m net, the volume required is approximately 1.8 m3.
There is no source of iron ore in Greece, so the steel industry depends on imported and home-produced scrap (especially from shipbreaking) as a raw material. The quality of such steel is poor. Good quality steel has to be imported in sheet or rod form from other EEC countries.
Greece has a small industry for the production of aluminium. The product is said to be too malleable to be useful in cage construction but is suitable for the manufacture of screens.
Due to the situation of Greece in an active seismic zone, construction work now almost universally depends on reinforced concrete; this, together with the fact that the construction sector has been one of the most dynamic in the last 30 years (owing to urbanization and tourism), has led to a well established concrete supply and installation sector. Cement is manufactured at several centres in Greece and sand and gravel are readily quarried. The cost of ready-mixed concrete is from Dr 4 000 to 5 000/m3, depending on specification, volume required and delivery distance. This cost is about half that in the U K (approximately Dr 8 000/m3).
There are many companies manufacturing plastic goods in Greece, although the quality is somewhat variable.
a) Pipes and Valves
Greece has many manufacturers of PVC pipes; one company, however, has an outstanding reputation for service, value for money and product range, namely Petzetakis A.E. (No. 86, Appendix B). This company is able to supply most of the pipe requirements of aquaculture systems. Valves, however, have to be imported, usually from Italy.
There are numerous importers of a wide variety of plant and equipment, much of which has direct application for aquaculture purposes. There are also a number of Greek manufacturers, notably Drachos Polemis A.E. (pumps - Appendix B2, No. 78), Bournasos and Kanettou Bros. (water heaters - No. 91), Elamco A.E. (air blowers - No. 79), Extrusion Technology Hellas Linos N. Ltd. (feed extruders - No. 21), and Kotika Bros. (ice makers - No. 45).
c) Prefabricated Buildings
There are numerous Greek companies offering prefabricated buildings for a variety of industrial and agricultural purposes, notably Avex (timber frame, wide span - No. 76), Agrotek A.E.V.E. (greenhouses - No. 72), Monyal (steel frame, aluminium cladding), Kilkis (prefabricated concrete) and Elenit Co., Thessaloniki (prefabricated concrete).
Many other Greek industries have a requirement for tanks, e.g., for olive oil, chemicals, wine, milk, beer, etc. Fibreglass is the most common material used and there are many companies specializing in this field. Resin is produced in Greece; matting is still imported but home manufacture is said to be starting shortly. Several companies have started producing items for aquaculture, notably Duroplast E.P.E. (No. 19) and Chionis K. and Co. Ltd. (No. 15). The former company manufactures a complete range of tanks suitable for hatchery use, e.g., 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 m3 one-piece free-standing cylindroconical tanks, 10 and 15 m3 raceways, 7–15 m3 sectional fibreglass round tanks, 1.2 m3 insulated transport tank; the price of the 2 m3 cylindroconical tank is Dr 60 000, the 10 m3 raceway Dr 380 000 and the transport tank Dr 180 000 (cf. Dr 260 000 for imported equivalent). Tanks have been supplied to Cephalonian Fisheries and for the hatchery under construction at Kyparissi. The quality is generally satisfactory; problems in the past were the internal finish, which particularly on the round sectional tanks was unsatisfactory, and on raceways strengthened with hollow steel tube, corrosion due to seepage and inadequate protection of the steel. Chionis K. and Co. Ltd. supplies fibreglass mouldings for pouring concrete for the formation of lagoon screen support pillars, and also the screens themselves; the latter are constructed from fibreglass rods, have a high degree of finish, but are costly - a 1.2 × 1.5 m screen costs Dr 37 500; this price, however, is claimed to be cheaper than aluminium. The same company can manufacture tanks to any specification, typical costs being Dr 1 200/kg and there being 7–8 kg/m2 of 6 mm thick tank wall; difficult mouldings are more expensive; maximum depth and diameter of tanks with 6 mm walls are 1.5 m and 3.5 m respectively.
A number of companies are able to supply new and secondhand mooring equipment (see Nos. 34, 54, 77 and 84). Koronakis D. A.S. (No. 34) is the only company known to be manufacturing rope and chain. Greek manufactured permanent mooring anchors with a high holding power to weight ratio are available from Allix Ltd. (No. 54) at a cost of Dr 940/kg.
c) Cage Collars
There are presently around five companies engaged in the manufacture of cage collars (see Nos. 20, 41, 54, 87, 92). The latter three supply collars constructed from wood and polystyrene and modelled on the Scottish “Kames 3-tonne cage” design, with certain modifications made in the light of individual experience gained; costs vary from Dr 175 000 to Dr 250 000 for a collar taking a 5 × 5 m net. Messinia S.A. (No. 41) is the only company using Greek wood, and manufactures a 4-walkway collar with plastic barrel flotation, taking a 4 m × 4 m net and costing Drs 250,000. Evritania S.A. (No. 20), a company farming carp and trout in cages in Kremaston Reservoir, supplies cage units consisting of 6 cages (each 5 m × 5 m × 4 m deep) constructed of poles (Greek) and buoys (Norwegian) and a central wood/polystyrene walkway; one unit costs Dr 1.5 × 106 (complete with nets).
Amongst the foreign companies supplying cages, and represented or seeking representation in Greece, are Farmocean AB (No. 22 – 3 500 m3 offshore cage system), Fishtechnik Fredelsloh (No. 25 - range of cages for inland inshore and offshore use), Sea Farm Trading A/S (No. 48 - large PEH-plastic pipe collars) and Wavemaster (No. 51 - large steel cages, 12 and 15 m square for exposed sites). The products of these companies all represent directions into which Greek cage requirements may expand in the future, but for the moment demand and requirements are for relatively small, low-cost, easily managed cages for inshore waters.
d) Cage Nets
All cage nets are currently imported from Scotland, Italy, Norway, Turkey and the Far East. (For supplying companies see Nos. 13, 32, 48, 52, 65). Typical costs are Dr 820/m2 for 6 mm square white mesh, Dr 460/m2 for 13 mm bitumen treated square mesh, and Dr 350 m2 for 18 mm bitumen treated square mesh. The cost and delivery time for nets imported from Italy is generally less than for those imported from other countries.
The total annual consumption of nets for the Greek fishing industry is estimated to be 1 000 t, of which the majority is imported. The largest importer is Eleftherios A. Caramanis S.A. (No. 13) who is said to cover 90% of the market, and who now supplies cage nets. On being questioned about the potential for manufacture of knotless nylon nets in Greece, the response was that it would be more expensive to produce them in Greece than to import them, owing to the high costs of plant, twine and training of skilled personnel. Certainly this company's prices, at around Dr 315/m2 for 8 and 12 mm mesh, are considerably cheaper than most other suppliers, probably due to its bargaining power achieved through its significant presence in the fishing net market.
The potential annual consumption of nets by a 5 000 t/year cage industry could be in the region of 42 t (derived from Table 2 and assuming an average price of Dr 480/m2 and 4.7 m2/kg). The cost of a knotless net knitting machine and associated accessories is in the region of Dr 30 million; working at full capacity such a machine can produce 50 t of net/year; however, due to the time and cost required to set a machine up every time a different mesh size is knitted, a machine dealing with a range of sizes would have a much reduced output, thus factories generally have a number of such machines to deal with a range of mesh sizes without having to alter settings. It may be seen that even a 5 000 t/year cage industry has a requirement for only 42 t/year of net, roughly equivalent to the output from one knitting machine. Add to this fact the difficulties outlined above, the cost of twine, the highly skilled labour requirements and the competition from other well developed net making industries in nearby countries, it may be seen that the potential for a home based net production sector is, in the fore-seeable future, quite limited.
e) Feeding Systems
Allix Ltd. (No. 54) is currently the only company manufacturing feeders and control units. Feeders can be supplied with spinner distributors, but the power consumption then increases beyond that which can reasonably be provided by batteries occasionally charged onshore; the same company thus supplies a simple windmill battery charger for mounting on cages.
A number of companies and organizations are active in the field of consultancy and advice (see Appendix B3). The quality of this field is of the utmost importance as it is by its recommendations, plans and actions that aquaculture is likely to succeed or fail. The lack of trained personnel and low level of knowledge concerning aquaculture in Greece, coupled with a general enthusiasm and impetus to become involved, means that great responsibility is placed on those in the position of advisers.
Generally, the best advisers are successful farmers in their own right, and prospective farmers would be well advised to consult them first.
The availability of any items not so far mentioned in this section can be checked by reference to Appendix B3. Items most likely to have been omitted are those supplied by foreign companies who are usually equipment agents in their own right and thus supply a very wide range of goods. The foreign supply companies most in evidence are Italian, German and Scandinavian.
Generally the support sector to any newly developing industry develops alongside the industry itself, according to that industry's demands. In the earliest stages of development, when needs are not yet clearly defined and known, an industry may be restrained in its development through the non-existence of a home-based support sector, and goods and technology may have to be imported. As the industry develops, needs become known and demand increases, the home-based support sector begins to recognize commercial opportunities and starts to exploit them. Many of the opportunities created will be for existing manufacturers and suppliers, who with little or no adaptation of their processes or technology, are able to offer their goods and services to the newly developing industry at an early stage, assuming they are aware of it. The manufacture of items of specialist equipment for which raw materials are available and construction technology not great is often in the first instance carried out by industry members themselves in response to their own requirements, and then at a later stage taken up by specialist companies. Specialist items which require a high degree of precision and expertise in their manufacture and are generally expensive to construct may continue to be imported for some time until the industry's demands are great enough to stimulate home based production; this many not be a major industry constraint if the demand for and consumption of such items is small in comparison with the industry's gross turnover.
The development process outlined above presupposes that a country already has a well developed, free market economy with significant industrial and agricultural sectors and associated infrastructures. Greece is such a country, with a particularly significant agricultural sector (20% of GDP in 1982, Source: FAO). Greece has been a member of the EEC since 1982 and has well developed trading links both within and outside the Community. Consequently there are very few goods and services required for aquaculture which, if they cannot be found or manufactured in Greece, cannot be imported.
Any strategies proposed for the development of the support sector should be concerned with ensuring that it offers the best possible service to the aquaculture industry and that the latter is not constrained in its development by any support sector deficiencies. Such deficiencies may be assessed by examining the supply of goods and services in terms of:
Availability and quality of materials and equipment for aquaculture in Greece at the present time is mostly adequate. The cost of some specialized imported items, e.g., cage nets, is quite high but the impact of such cost on production economy is small compared with other items, e.g., the annual depreciation cost of nets on a typical marine cage farm is only Dr 19/kg (see Table 2) or less than 2% of average production costs if these are assumed to be Dr 1 100/kg. Whilst any move to subsidize home-based net manufacture would no doubt be welcomed by farmers, it would serve no useful development purpose, bearing in mind the already low cost of nets in relation to other costs. The same cost principle applies to other specialized items. Delivery time of imported goods is a nuisance rather than a constraint provided that adequate time has been allowed for in planning; a frequent point of delay is customs on entry into Greece. More significant and unpredictable delays might occur due to hold-ups in payment to suppliers due to outdated banking procedures. Spares and servicing of imported machinery are important but rarely constraining providing both have been properly researched and provided for.
The principal requirement is for the communication of aquaculture industry requirements to potential suppliers and manufacturers, who may as yet be unaware of aquaculture as an industry and its potential growth. Potential suppliers and manufacturers could be sent a circular with the following information:
Such a circular would stimulate awareness and interest but would need to be backed up by technical information and advice. To further this requirement and also to act as a link between farmers and manufacturers/suppliers, an information centre could be established or the service offered from an existing office. This centre could be responsible for obtaining and analysing technical information concerning aquaculture equipment used in industries in other countries, and passing that information on to both farmers and suppliers.
The sponsoring and promotion of collaborative links between technical institutes and potential or existing manufacturers should be encouraged. The design and construction of cages for offshore use could be one subject of such support.
Other strategies should be directed towards promoting the availability, quality, cost, delivery time and servicing of goods and services.
The following strategies are proposed:
Inform potential equipment and services manufacturers and suppliers of industry potential and requirements to stimulate awareness and interest (in the form of a simple circular).
Establish a centre to gather technical information concerning aquaculture equipment and engineering, to act as an advisor to both farmers and manufacturers, and to stimulate collaboration between the two parties.
Sponsor and promote equipment development projects between technical institutes and potential manufacturers.
Streamline import procedures (customs, banking, procedures) to prevent unnecessary delays.
Ensure that imported goods for aquaculture are not unduly taxed or otherwise financially penalized.