5.1.1 The development of aquaculture in Greece is highly constrained by 1) the lack of capital available; 2) high cost of capital; 3) limited access to appropriate technology; 4) lack of trained and experienced personnel; 5) difficulty in properly projecting economic performances; 6) lack of market studies; and 7) administrative complexity and delays.
Despite these constraints a strong interest in aquaculture has developed among investors.
5.1.2 No records exist to allow an assessment of past economic performances of sample units to provide a quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis shows that each type of culture has different characteristics. In economic terms:
Intensive sea bream, sea bass or eel culture and shellfish culture show good prospects of profitability.
Trout, carp and mullet culture are easy to manage, even by small farms, but low market prices presently limit their expansion.
Lagoon production can be - and should be - expanded to contribute to the local economy.
5.1.3 There are few real indications of economies of scale at this stage. While scale economies are possible in the present technically sophisticated marine fish hatcheries, larger and more integrated units offer less flexibility than smaller scale production units.
Benefits to the local economy from numerous small or middle scale units are generally higher. In some cases, the return on investment is faster and profitability by unit of capital invested is higher. Integration, by linking together the stages of production, greatly increases the risk factor in newly designed technology.
5.1.4 The public sector is actively involved in aquaculture. Such direct involvement as the construction and operation of hatcheries may initially be justified in providing the industry with fry. However, given the difficulties in management, mainly the need for quick decision-making, there are serious concerns about efficiency. The association of the private sector and more business-oriented attitude by the public banks are necessary to increase overall efficiency of the sector.
5.1.5 Public money invested in supporting actions such as research, marketing, etc., brings shared benefits to the industry. This may also be more efficient than direct intervention in the granting of investments.
5.1.6 There are several cases of conflicts in the use of aquatic resources and in the sharing of economic and social benefits among local communities. To resolve such conflicts more concentration and coordination are required.
5.1.7 The development of aquaculture in Greece is presently too politically and technically oriented. Not enough consideration is given to the economic characteristics of each type of aquaculture or of the role of aquaculture in the local and national economy. The introduction of economic criteria is necessary for more efficient decision-making at the national level and to support the private sector.
5.2.1 Aquaculture Sector
That aquaculture be considered as a high risk activity, offering in some cases high profit opportunities but generally a more long term return on the investment.
Thus, publicity on aquaculture used to attract capital should be more realistic to avoid the risk of deterring private investors and banks.
That a good framework of techno-economic criteria be developed to support decision-making at the national, local and private sector level.
5.2.2 Financial Support
That clear, less complicated and shorter granting and loan procedures be formulated, and that requirements for grant applications be the same for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of National Economy and that they be based on EEC regulations.
That part of the working capital be included in the granting scheme to overcome the difficulties of the first years of operation.
That the security level for loans be lowered and aquaculture facilities be eligible.
That the granting scheme be equally available to all types of aquaculture, and that the strong bias towards big and/or integrated projects be reduced.
That the present situation of the Agricultural Insurance changes, and insurance for aquaculture be provided.
That the bank provides farms with guidance in book-keeping and strongly recommends accurate records be kept.
That detailed information on the sequence of procedures to establish an aquaculture unit, and granting schemes available, be published and distributed widely.
That links with the EEC administration be strengthened to systematically use the granting opportunities available.
5.2.3 Coordination and Support
That within a proposed National Aquaculture Coordination Committee, working groups conduct a sectorial analysis of opportunities and constraints to the development of each main type of culture, and that more realistic technico-economic data be used for feasibility studies.
That economists, scientists, representatives from the Agricultural Bank, ETANAL and the private sector participate in reporting to the National Committee on the feasibility of different systems, based on markets, costs and benefits, and constraints analysis.
That domestic and foreign market studies and marketing actions be developed by ETANAL and the Cooperatives Federation PASEGES.
That more attention be given to correct handling, processing and quality control of aquaculture products to increase their added-value and improve their market-ability.
That training in aquaculture business management be provided to the private sector.
That more publicity be given by the Ministry of Industry and Technology regarding funding opportunities for applied research programmes, and that full support be given to universities in Crete and Thessaloniki in developing techno-economic studies of aquaculture in their region.
That research programmes on feeds, pathology, hatchery and on-growing techniques, handling, processing and quality control, etc., include economic data analysis.