The workshop produced estimates of current aquaculture production for the prime species and estimates of output in five years' time. It also reviewed consumption characteristics and the nature of export and domestic markets for sea bass, sea bream, mullets and eel in the Mediterranean region. Participants reviewed trends in major production costs and the principal constraints to further development. In studying the potential for future expansion the workshop made a number of recommendations.
The results of the workshop are summarized as follows:
1. Currently about 6 000 t per year of sea bass and sea bream, 11 000 t per year of mullets and nearly 7 000 t per year of eels are being produced by intensive and extensive aquaculture;
2. By 1992, eel production is expected to increase to nearly 11 000 t per year; mullet production is expected to almost double to 20 000 t per year;
3. Sea bass and sea bream production through aquaculture are forecast to rise by a factor of 4.5 to over 27 000 t per year.1 In the countries represented - Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey
1. About 29% of current aquaculture production of sea bass and sea bream is estimated to be destined for export markets. This proportion may rise to 45% by 1992. This represents a forecast increase in the availability of exportable quantities by 9 000 to 10 000 t per year between 1987 and 1992;
2. The forecast five year increase in mullet production is destined entirely for domestic markets;
3. The availability of cultured eel for export markets is expected to increase by a factor of 75% while that for domestic markets may rise (mainly through Italian expansion) by 33%;
4. No special marketing problems are foreseen for mullet, and the North European markets for eel are expected to be able to absorb the additional supply. However, it is cautioned that the eel market is more volatile and future events, particularly competition from producing countries outside the Mediterranean, should be closely monitored;
5. The anticipated increase in the export availability of sea bass and sea bream could result in considerable pressure on present price levels and could lead to market collapse. The increased production is almost exclusively aimed at tie Italian market.
1. Eel markets have very specific product requirements. Smoked eel consumption may increase. The feasibility of promoting preserved eel products requires investigation;
2. Sea bass and sea bream prices are subject to severe fluctuations due to local gluts. Farmers are expected to become more susceptible to this as supply increases, unless production and marketing planning are coordinated more effectively;
3. Sea bream could be promoted as a typically Mediterranean product which could supplant the primary position of salmon in the restaurant market;
4. Preferences are noted for locally produced, rather than imported, sea bream in some markets.
1. Sea bass/sea bream grow-out dry feed unit costs were US$ 0.70-1.00/kg in 1986. Feeding costs range from 27 to 33% of total production costs. Unit costs are not expected to decrease but feed performance improvements are anticipated;
2. The cost of sea bass and sea bream fry is related to size. Extreme ranges from US$ 0.53 to 1.15 each are quoted for hatchery reared juveniles, while wild caught sea bass were available (in Portugal) at US$ 0.35 each. Sea bream fry are always more expensive than sea bass. Prices are expected to rise unless more hatcheries became operational. Juvenile costs represent 23 to 29% of total production costs;
3. Although some details of the costs of production through valliculture are provided, detailed comparisons with the costs of intensive production systems are not feasible during this workshop. However, intensive farmers should expect greater competition in the future from extensive producers whose capital costs may have been met or subsidized by governments, not necessarily for strictly commercial reasons.1 Discussion concentrated on sea bass and sea bream production costs
The primary constraints, other than marketing difficulties, to the further expansion of intensive sea bass and sea bream farming are:
1. Disease problems in hatcheries and grow-out farms, which contribute to poor survival rates;
2. The need for further technical improvements, such as better automatic feeders and 'high-sea' cages;
3. Difficulties in obtaining legal rights over fish farming areas (e.g., cages) and the necessary public services, including licences and utilities;
4. The inflexibility of planning controls;
5. Potential competition from extensive aquaculture;
6. The shortage of suitable sites1;
7. Financing and insurance difficulties;
8. Paucity of technical information, which tends to be proprietary;
9. Inadequate supply of juveniles. About 100 million fingerlings are required annually to support the 5-year production expansion foreseen;1 One participant believed that, in addition to the natural shortage of suitable sites, supermarket chains might acquire sites and hold them until technology becomes available which enables reductions of up to 50% in production costs.
As a result of the information gathered at the workshop and the discussions which ensued, participants developed a number of informal recommendations. These are noted below:
1. A system should be instituted to monitor and report on research and development and its impact on production costs in hatcheries and grow-out units. This would provide an early warning of new sub-sector developments;
2. The production costs and potential scale of production systems of differing intensity should be studied, monitored and regularly reported;
3. An indicative planning document (providing guidance to investors on the likely course of development, identifying key investment points and constraints, such as a workable legal framework for farmers, working capital loan facilities, etc.) should be prepared;
4. A market information system, providing details of evolving product specifications, prices, quantities of fish entering the markets and other relevant data, should be established;
5. The requirements of the household consumer and the restaurant trade should be studied in detail and consequential demand promotion undertaken;
6. The feasibility of improving market conditions, through grower associations or marketing boards, by achieving year-round product availability at stable prices, should be investigated;
7. Improved handling and quality control, and the use of brand names and quality identification labels should be encouraged to promote demand for farmed, as opposed to captured, sea bass and sea bream;
8. Aquaculture should aim at domestic, not just export markets;
9. A pertinent marketing strategy, for the sea bass/sea bream culture industry, supported and modified by the continuing distribution of updated information on the topics noted above, needs development. The present markets for sea bass and sea bream are too narrow;
10. The accuracy of the estimates made at this workshop should be monitored (perhaps by further workshops). Future workshop participants should include bankers.1
11. Despite the fact that the technology was rapidly evolving, basic, practical, technical manuals would be of particular value to the developing countries of the region;
12. FAO has an important role to play in carrying out the recommendations made at the workshop. Participants particularly felt that the work mentioned in recommendations 1,2,3,4,9,10 and 11 above could only be undertaken adequately by an international agency. Careful consideration of these aspects should be included in the preparation of a new Mediterranean (Euro-Arabic) regional aquaculture programme.1 Participants believed that the dialogue and research fostered by a workshop was of greater value than desk studies.