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4. Responsible aquaculture production

4.1 Promotion of the concept of responsible aquaculture
4.2 Responsibility in aquaculture management
4.3 Issues of public concern
4.4 Cooperation at national, sub-regional and regional level
4.5 Producer organisations
4.6 Trade in aquaculture products
4.7 Information on responsible aquaculture
4.8 Conclusions drawn from the synthesis

Because of the complex nature of the topic of section 4, a different approach has been used in its synthesis to that used for section 3. In section 4, some major points have been highlighted in bold in each sub-section, while some conclusions have been drawn in sub-section 4.8.

4.1 Promotion of the concept of responsible aquaculture

Understanding the concept

The necessity for aquaculture to develop in a responsible manner is well accepted and understood in government and academic circles. Indirectly, responsible aquaculture is encouraged through its inclusion in legislation but information specifically designed for the private sector is limited, and there is room for improved dissemination. Awareness of the general concept of responsibility is increasing amongst the owners and operators of large-scale and intensive farms, but small-scale and traditional fish farmers are generally ignorant of the concept, and some resistance has been noted, due to the higher costs envisaged by farmers. The concepts of the precautionary approach and responsible aquaculture have generally been incorporated, where legislation exists, into regulations and licences. However, recognition and application of these principles in the private sector, unless enforced by law, is limited by lack of dissemination, specifically due to shortages in financial resources.

Despite the lack of recognition of the concept of the Code per se, there is generally a positive attitude within the production sector towards the environment in which it operates because of the clear recognition that financial success depends not only on maximising production but also on creating and maintaining a good product image. For example, depuration of bivalve molluscs reared in French waters classified as "category B" is mandatory. However, the report from another country specifically notes that farmers care about the quality of the water which they access for their freshwater fish farms but care little about the quality of the water which they discharge, or its effect on the environment in general, or even on their neighbouring fish farms. As might be expected, the attitude towards the environment amongst the newer entrants to aquaculture tends to be more responsible than amongst traditional fish farmers. Thus education, not just reaction to consumer concerns (and thus its impact on revenue), has a vital role to play in this topic. While at one extreme the need to co-exist with other common resource users is recognised, elsewhere the lack of a development plan and poor coordination between ministries is reported to inhibit the development of the sector.

The attitude of alternative resource users towards aquaculture is variable. Considerable opposition to coastal aquaculture from farmers, fishermen and land developers is recorded in one country and to inland aquaculture from other freshwater users (domestic consumers and irrigated crop producers) in another. In several countries, the tourism industry is a major opponent to coastal aquaculture. However, in many countries, reaction to the aquaculture industry is either generally positive or indifferent; some local conflicts were reported in others, but were easily solved. However, where there is a lack of conflict this may simply reflect the fact that resource use by aquaculture is still low.

Most local NGOs in the region, though generally active on general environmental matters, were reported to have a positive or neutral attitude towards aquaculture [but see also section 4.2.1 (The attitude of NGOs towards the environment...) and 4.3.2 (NGOs and the aquaculture industry)]. However, criticism has been voiced about tuna farming (Croatia) and the effect of cage culture on the marine environment (Israel, Malta) and, more generally, about the possible negative impact of aquaculture (Spain). No intervention in the region by international NGOs has been reported.

Promoting the concept

While the concept of sustainable resource use is recognised by the public, no special provisions are taken by the public sector to make aquaculture producers and suppliers aware of the potential risks of resource exhaustion or irreversible adverse changes in most countries except, where it exists, in legislation. Few, if any, specific actions seem to be taken to promote the concept of responsible aquaculture within the production sector in the region. Strong reliance seems to be placed on legislation rather than direct education or training in this topic. The Code itself has clearly not yet become common parlance. However, at least two countries intend to set up meetings and training courses as well as issuing publications to disseminate the CCRF. In three other countries (Italy, Romania, Spain) it has been translated and disseminated, either through an annual bulletin to fish farmers or through producer associations, engendering many constructive comments from the private sector. This initiative clearly demonstrates the need to produce aquaculture information (in general, and specifically on the Code) in the national language for it to be utilised in the private sector [c/f section 4.7].

4.2 Responsibility in aquaculture management

4.2.1 The environment
4.2.2 Species choice
4.2.3 Genetic manipulations
4.2.4 Sustainable use of inputs
4.2.5 Insurance

4.2.1 The environment

Multiple resource use, impact evaluation and monitoring

Aquaculture producers are aware of the importance of monitoring "external" environmental conditions, to guarantee themselves against problems caused by the activities of other resource users. However, their ability to defend themselves from the actions of other resource users is sometimes weak due to a lack of actual systematic monitoring by public authorities. Public environmental monitoring of the water resources utilised for aquaculture is reported from a few countries. Specific problems of external pollution were reported in freshwater sources, and in ponds because of poorly controlled pesticide use. Sanctions against external polluters were reported in one country. In another, cooperative societies were reported to endeavour to solve the water quality problems affecting culture-based fisheries. The report from France mentions that mollusc culture is integrated with other traditional coastal activities through the application of specific coastal planning instruments which protect aquafarms from external environmental contamination. The compliance of aquafarmers with environmental regulations is monitored by national or regional government authorities. In some cases, producers are required to submit annual environmental monitoring reports. However, in one country, while the report quite surprisingly recorded that there are no impacts of aquaculture on the environment, it noted that the consequences of other resource users impacted on aquaculture because effluent legislation is inadequately enforced. In Egypt, it is interesting that one law specifically lists activities which are harmful to agriculture; aquaculture is not included.

Efficient evaluation of the impacts of aquaculture activities on the environment, as well as the impact of other activities on the environment within which aquaculture operates, is reported to be enhanced by good cooperation with other relevant authorities, and sometimes through the establishment of a formal interministerial committees. However, interdisciplinary or interministerial dialogue is reported to be weak in almost a third of the countries. In many cases this may be linked to the lack of integration of aquaculture with other activities. However, the integration of aquaculture with other resource users was described in some countries. Actual (Bulgaria) or potential (Romania) use of warm water discharges from electricity power stations, plans or existing activities related to tourism (with freshwater aquaculture in Croatia and Cyprus; with all aquaculture activities in Israel), integration with crop production especially desert agriculture (Egypt, Israel) were recorded. Research on the integration of aquaculture with livestock (pigs, chicken) production was noted in Romania.

The responsibility for environmental monitoring belongs to a wide spectrum of authorities, as listed in the relevant national reports. These include, in addition to the authorities responsible for fisheries, water and environment, those which are concerned with agriculture, forestry and agrarian reform, veterinary services, shipping, and tourism. The economic and human resources available in the public sector to monitor the environmental milieu of aquaculture are limited in most countries, and administrative problems are sometimes identified as an additional constraint.

Aquafarm management techniques and limiting the impact of aquaculture

The necessity for adequate farm management and the use of rearing practices which are not only technically and economically sound, but also environmentally consonant with the needs of other resource users, is well understood in most countries, particularly by the larger producers. These concepts were reported to be fostered by the adoption of legislation, by the technical training of farmers, and by controls on farm water quality and use. However, the importance of good farm management practices is less well understood by some less-educated producers, especially traditional fish farmers. The activities of less well-educated farmers often impacts on those farmers who are environmentally conscious, because the general image of aquaculture suffers. Economic reasons primarily influence the management techniques which are applied, as well as the fear of enhanced competition from other resource users, should aquaculture farm management be seen to be deficient. Specific performance bonds or deposits (Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta), or the restoration of abandoned farms to their original state (France, Greece, Morocco, Spain) is required from aquaculture investors in some countries, but their effectiveness is not reported; some countries did not report any specific measures of this type.

The means by which those producers who cause environmental damage are legally constrained, which include farm closure and fines, seem generally effective in most countries but some problems were reported in enforcement, and in the detrimental effect of imposing excessively repressive measures on aquaculture producers, in others. In Egypt, where aquaculture was reported to have been negatively impacted by the activities of other resource users, the penalties for such actions were severe but the punitive process was cumbersome and therefore ineffective.

The methods which aquaculture producers use to dispose of wastes, such as dead or diseased fish, processing wastes, pond solids, excess veterinary drugs and hazardous chemicals, is rather variable. In most countries, dead (and sometimes visibly diseased) fish are dumped into pits or burned, but in at least one they are left on the pond banks where they desiccate or are consumed by birds. Several countries reported that drugs are little used because of their high cost, while others stated that adequate controls were the deterrent. In many cases, there are no processing wastes because the fish are sold whole, but one country mentioned that trout processing wastes were buried in pits. The discharge from hatcheries was only mentioned in the report from one country, where they go into the drainage system. Similarly, only one country mentioned the disposal of waste pond solids, which were disposed of in fields. Two countries (Bulgaria and Turkey) mentioned the need for further training and monitoring of waste disposal. In terms of health management, the situation seems to be more satisfactory. Outbreaks of disease are monitored by public authorities in almost all countries. In addition, the larger aquaculture producers avail themselves of the assistance available from private companies in this topic. Health certificates are generally required for live animal imports.

Where the imposition of emergency actions (e.g. the banning of product sale or live organism transfer) by public authorities in the case of adverse natural phenomena (e.g. toxic algal blooms or environmental contamination) have been necessary, producers are reported to be understanding about the need for such actions, and willing to cooperate. The potential impact of non-cooperation on the markets being supplied by producers is obvious, and commercial considerations are paramount.

The attitude of NGOs towards the environment of aquaculture

Although some countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Morocco) report mat NGOs have no specific concerns about the environmental consequences of aquaculture (although NGOs are active about general environmental matters in Morocco), some concerns have been expressed in about half of the other countries, especially in the island States and the eastern Mediterranean. One country (Turkey) indicated that aquaculture was being treated unfairly, while the more significant detrimental impacts of other, more major, common resource users received less attention. Despite this aquaculture appears to have received relatively little attention from NGOs in the Mediterranean region to date, perhaps because of its relatively small scale, and therefore its minimal resource requirements and impacts.

The private sector and its information and training requirements

Two countries (Croatia, Malta) reported that producers' own records are used in the public evaluation of the environment of aquaculture. Some countries reported that organised or ad hoc training is provided for farmers. Some of the larger aquaculture producers obtain technical information from other countries, sometimes because of absence of national academic institutions concerned with the development of new aquaculture technology. At the other extreme, the academic and production sectors are closely linked in the smaller countries of the region (e.g. Cyprus, Israel, Malta), where the aquaculture community is closely knit. It is not clear whether the training available in any country is specifically aligned to responsible aquaculture practices, however; in most cases, it seems likely that tuition is provided on purely technical matters. Most countries reported mat they have research institutes with specific interests in aquaculture but these are sometimes inhibited by funding difficulties. Though dialogue between academic institutions and the private sector is generally appropriate in the more developed countries of the region, it is clearly inadequate in others. More rapid dissemination to the private sector of the information generated through research, in a digestible form, is desirable. The lack of funds for disseminating such information is noted as a factor in some countries.

4.2.2 Species choice

Introductions and transfers

The import of non-indigenous species is reported to be under strict national control, or totally prohibited, in most countries of the region and the use of international controls (specifically EIFAC) and academic or foreign assistance is mentioned in the reports. EU countries apply their own relevant legislation, in addition to the terms agreed in CITES. However, while current practice is said to be reasonably effective, the impact of earlier uncontrolled introductions was noted. For example, all the freshwater species introduced into Croatia have spread into the wild. In addition, one country noted the effect of introductions by neighbouring Mediterranean countries and another reported that national violations had occurred due to the strict interpretation of the word "fish" as finfish, thus permitting the introduction of crustaceans without control. The report from Greece commented that the opening of borders between EU countries may result in less effective controls on introductions. In several countries, introductions are controlled by means of a special committee. While academic institutions are frequently consulted before new introductions are permitted, it is not clear whether their considerations include the potential and comparative economic benefits of introductions, or whether they concentrate only on the real or perceived threat to local fauna and flora, should escapes occur.

Some regard the eastern Mediterranean Sea as "contaminated" with inferior non-indigenous species of Indo-Pacific origin, which have gained access through the Suez Canal. Some positive effects of introductions were recorded, including rainbow trout, Japanese carpet shells (Manila clams), carps, and Pacific oysters. However, negative impacts were reported in four countries. These were the effect of the introduction of Carassius auratus, Pseudorasbora parva, Lepomis gibbosus, and Ictalurus nebulosus on open waters in Croatia, the introduction of Siluris glanis on the Po River and two molluscs (Scapharca inaequivalis and Rapana venosa) on mollusc culture in Italy, the introduction of crawfish in Egypt and the loss of the indigenous tilapia Oreochromis aureus through the import of about 30 exotic species in Israel (an action which had been taken because of the lack of local species suitable for aquaculture). Disease problems for the trout, eel, and sea bass and bream farming industries through introductions were also reported (Italy).

Circumvention of the rules

While control over introductions of exotic species for aquaculture appears to be reasonably effective, there is some circumvention, and in only a minority of reports are controls over the within-country sale and transfer of live organisms regarded as adequate. Academic institutions are frequently consulted about proposed introductions but one country (Malta) reported a lack of dialogue between scientific institutions and local authorities. The incorrect application of regulations due to a lack of adequate training, was noted. While many in the private sector have a good understanding of the need for controls over introductions and transfers, the temptation to circumvent the rules for financial gain remains. Effective implementation of regulations therefore continues to be critically important, not only for the continued success of aquaculture but for the capture fisheries and conservation. More education and training for the private sector, the greater use of public research facilities, specialised education for the officials responsible for control, and more efficient monitoring (made more effective where there is a producers association) would generally seem to be necessary.

4.2.3 Genetic manipulations

The national reports note that the private sector is successfully raising hybrids of sturgeon, tilapias, sea bream, bass (Morone spp.) and Chinese carps. Hybrid stocks are maintained by public institutions and private producers.

In most countries of the region, no research programmes on the use of genetically modified organisms in aquaculture exist, with financial constraints being frequently cited as the cause. However, some investigations on gynogenesis and polyploidy were reported by Croatia, France, and Italy. In only two reports was any use of GMOs by the private sector noted. These were in Cyprus, where the private sector has imported small quantities of all-female trout eggs and triploids have been imported under strict controls. The other was in Italy, where experiments on transgenic fish in private farms under strict supervision from scientific institutions was reported. The use of genetically modified organisms in commercial aquaculture is not yet a major issue in the region.

Since there is little use of GMOs in the countries which submitted reports, there are no specific national research programmes designed to evaluate or control the potential impact of the use of genetically modified organisms on the environment (e.g. effects on biodiversity). However, an EU-financed concerted action programme on the introduction of sterile GMOs for sea bass improvement was mentioned (Italy).

Although the potentially harmful effects which GMOs may cause (e.g. in terms of decreased genetic diversity if introduced into the wild) have therefore hardly been considered in most countries of the region, a provision on their use within the national environmental law of Cyprus, which will be consonant with EU legislation and the international conventions which the country has signed, is under preparation. Future introductions of GMOs and hybrids in Malta will also be consonant with EU legislation. Bilateral cooperation within Black Sea countries on this topic was mentioned, as well as a programme for the identification, evaluation, conservation, and improvement of genetic quality, which is being considered by the Romanian government.

4.2.4 Sustainable use of inputs

Issues and conflicts of resource use

In those countries where aquaculture development is included within the wider agricultural development strategy, it has a lower priority for land and water resource use than agriculture itself. Land, water and human resources were reported to be under-utilised or badly managed in some countries and the need for integrated resource management, whether inland or coastal, was identified several times. No specific problems were identified concerning the labour available for aquaculture in the region, except for a shortage in specialised personnel which was noted as a potential constraint in Croatia.

The shortage of economic resources for aquaculture (Croatia) and the shortage of sites for coastal aquaculture (Malta) were reported to have had positive effects, in the sense that they have led to more sustainable resource utilisation. In another country (Italy), it was reported that the current aquaculture plan states that aquaculture, particularly extensive aquaculture, contributes to the conservation of the environment in lagoon and marshy areas, as well as local cultural characteristics.

While some countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey) did not report any particularly difficult issues illustrating past, current or potential conflicts in resource use, other reports mentioned conflicts with the local population, the tourism industry, agricultural farmers, landowners, oil companies, harbour authorities, and military authorities. Conflicts with fishermen are commonplace (for example, because of the capture of wild fingerlings for aquaculture and reservoir re-stocking programmes in Tunisia). One report suggested that the statistical data which farmers and fishermen are obliged to provide might assist in monitoring and evaluating the results of strategies and decisions concerning resource use by the aquaculture sector. However, no defined procedures for evaluation were described in any report except that for Tunisia, where a special commission, established within the Ministry of Agriculture was established to evaluate the results and constraints experienced in executing its five year plan; This commission met in the third year of the plan, to allow for adjustments to be made.

Aquafeeds, manures and fertilisers

Apart from the EU countries, Turkey was the only country where locally manufactured supplies of fish meal were reported to be available, the complete or partial replacement of marine resources in aquafeeds appears to be receiving research attention in only a few countries (Israel, Malta). In those countries without an aquafeed manufacturing sector the high cost of importing aquafeeds was reported to encourage responsible use, but also led to a high price for aquaculture products. Aquafeeds and their ingredients are mainly selected according to their cost, but some attention to their impact on the environment was also reported, where aquaculture is an industrial activity (e.g. trout fanning and marine finfish culture in cages).

While most farmers may understand their environmental advantages, many are reported to avoid using extruded feeds because of their high cost (it is not clear if these farmers are only considering unit feed cost, or the more valid "cost of feeding per unit of production"). Ecologically acceptable feeds (e.g., low-phosphorus, low-nitrogen) are available in a number of countries (e.g. Italy, where their environmental benefits are clearly pointed out on the labels), but the reports from many countries indicate that farmers are generally resistant to their use because of their higher unit cost. Economics is the principle factor governing feed utilisation in most countries, although mere is a general awareness that there are also environmental consequences of poor feeding practices. The importance of eco-friendly feeds and feeding technology may continue to be ignored by the private sector in many countries, unless they can be proved to be more profitable (in Italy this is said to have been demonstrated; this is also true for France, where research in this field is carried out in strict cooperation with producers), or regulations are developed and enforced (for example, control over the impact of marine aquafeeds in the Bay of Eilat, Israel, through by feed quotas).

Some use of chemical fertilisers in freshwater aquaculture was reported in several countries, but animal manures in only two (Egypt, Romania). Some countries were reported to have minimised fertilisation, sometimes for economic reasons.

Therapeutants, hormones and chemicals

The necessity for maintaining optimum levels of farm hygiene and health management to ensure the safe, effective and minimal use of therapeutants, hormones and drugs, antibiotics and other disease control chemicals is generally recognised. In some countries (e.g. Egypt), in-farm stocking of chemicals is prohibited. However, it is sometimes their cost, rather than responsibility which limits their use. In most countries, the use of these substances is limited and strictly controlled, usually by the veterinary authorities, or avoided through the use of vaccines (e.g. in France). However, surveillance is not always effective, and farmers may be unlikely to hesitate to use them if their stock is endangered. However, in Malta it is the farmers themselves who self-regulate chemical use, by carrying out fish health monitoring programmes. In some countries, aquafarmers were reported not to be using herbicides or rotenone (in practice, they are absent in EU countries); while controls on their use exist in other countries, monitoring is not always effective. Other substances, such as anti-predator agents, antifoulants, formalin, etc., are generally used with caution (sometimes only by authorised personnel), and sometimes prohibited.

Many farmers do not analyse their discharge water for hazardous chemicals. In some cases, farmers are said to consider that water is so polluted by urban and industrial wastes, and that the contribution of inland aquaculture is relatively minor. However, the cage farmers of Eilat are themselves funding an environmental programme to control environmental impact. Aquafarm wastewater control is thus mainly a function of the public sector in some countries but even then is not always effective. Producers in most countries accept public monitoring measures for the use of therapeutants, hormones and chemicals willingly, being aware of their importance and the market image of their product. Others temper their concern with the fear of provisions in existing or future legislation, particularly from the EU; their concern is primarily commercial.

A desire to replace potentially hazardous materials with safer products was reported in the reports from some countries. However, in view of another report which stated that many farmers care little about these matters, the concern may primarily be evident amongst government and academic staff. The public do not yet appear to be sensitised to such topics in many countries.

4.2.5 Insurance

It appears that a considerable proportion of the risk inherent in being an aquaculture producer is still borne by the farmers in the region, where the use of insurance is very variable. While coverage for all the aquaculture activities developed to date in Greece (hatcheries, shellfish culture, intensive fish farming in land-based and floating facilities) is available, the take up rate is low, and many farmers only insure on a seasonal basis, because the terms of the policies are not yet sufficiently favourable. All units are said to be insured in Malta, but in many countries the stock in most grow-out units is uninsured, due to the high costs involved. Consignments of marine fry are insured in Cyprus, and the structures and stock of finfish farms are reported to be insured in Morocco but shellfish farmers are not. Insurance for aquaculture is only available against disease risks in Croatia, and reported to be unavailable from local agents in Egypt. However, the yield of most inland aquaculture farms in Israel is insured by a semi-government insurance firm and marine production units are insured internationally, through Lloyds of London. Some State insurance (e.g. against loss by predation) for aquafarms was formerly available in Bulgaria but the situation is now in flux. State insurance, through the agricultural bank, is available in Turkey but only for facilities, not stock. In France and Italy, only a few large aquaculture ventures insure their facilities and stocks, again because of the high costs entailed. Difficulties in identifying insurance companies willing to accept aquaculture risks have been experienced in Tunisia. Aquaculture has been considered a high risk activity by insurers since a significant incident caused by toxic dinoflagellates there in 1991; now much more attention is paid to the technological competence of the farms seeking insurance.

Apart from problems of cost, most farmers are reported to view insurance not only as beneficial from a commercial point of view, particularly for marine cage culture, but inherently supportive of responsible aquaculture practice. While there seems to be little attempt on behalf of the insurance companies themselves to promote the practice of responsible aquaculture through inserting specific clauses in their agreements (this was only noted in two reports), they certainly do so in an unconscious manner because of the way in which they take their decisions to insure. In addition, conventional attitudes towards risk management, based on the inherent dangers to structures and stock from weather conditions, were reported in all cases where insurance was available to, or employed by, aquafarmers. There were no reports that insurance firms were seeking to protect the environment within which aquaculture units operate against the activities of other resource users by including this topic in the policies issued to other resource users. Although insurers, for their own commercial reasons, have a generally positive attitude towards responsible aquaculture, and some may be aware of the existence of the CCRF (whose application should reduce risk), none of the reports indicated that the Code is officially recognised in the policies issued. Two reports (Malta, Tunisia) specifically suggested that Article 9 of the Code should be incorporated in all insurance policies.

4.3 Issues of public concern

4.3.1 Socio-economic issues
4.3.2 The public climate for aquaculture
4.3.3 Animal welfare

4.3.1 Socio-economic issues

Income and diet diversification

Though aquaculture is a recognised means to diversify income and diet, and contribute to food security, not many specific programmes (inland and/or coastal aquaculture) in support of local communities by the adoption of technologically and economically appropriate aquaculture practices (e.g. culture-based fisheries, integrated aquaculture, bivalve mollusc farming, etc.) were noted. However, there were a number of exceptions. Three current programmes (on culture-based fisheries in lakes, fish culture in rice fields, and cage culture in lakes and the Nile) were reported in Egypt. Israel reported that there is a general national strategy to transform fish ponds into reservoirs and share their water with irrigation. Now, Israeli policy is to exploit saline and other marginal waters, to promote recycling and intensive recirculation systems, and to diversify the species reared. For many years, the Tunisian government has been operating a programme of reservoir re-stocking with mullet fingerlings and broodstock of autochthonous species; training in fisheries activities for the local population has also been provided, as well as some equipment (boats, nets). In Morocco, programmes to promote culture-based fisheries in reservoirs in support of local communities are commencing.

The reservoir re-stocking activities in Tunisia are regarded as highly successful and this programme is therefore expanding. Fishermen are beginning to organise themselves into associations and are expected to be able to operate the programme independently soon. It is too early to comment on the success or failure of the programmes in Morocco but acceptance by the local communities seems to be good and efforts are being made to set up cooperative mechanisms. All the Israeli strategies mentioned in the previous paragraph are reported as successful. In Egypt, the cage culture and culture-based programmes are reported to be successful but the culture offish in rice fields in 1997 fell to 30% of that in 1996, which coincided with the cessation of the policy to supply free fry.


Though the credit lines available for agriculture are sometimes applicable to aquaculture, no credit lines designed specifically for small-scale aquaculture producers or producers associations were reported, except in Croatia and Egypt. In one report it was noted that the recommendation of the fisheries department was regarded as insufficient for credit to be approved. Personal assets must be lodged as loan security; this is not unusual, but it is a severe inhibition to the development of small-scale aquaculture, since the potential producers may not have (substantial) assets.

Benefits and problems

Aquaculture development was reported as creating socio-economic benefits in all reports, with increased employment (especially in areas of high unemployment), new products and a steady supply of good quality traditional products at a reasonable costs, increased availability of high-protein food, foreign exchange earnings, the creation of small farms in association with restaurants, and "enhanced contacts with foreign counterparts" being specifically cited. Oyster culture has brought socio-economic benefits (e.g. employment) to over 10,000 people in France. However, the traditional structure of the industry (i.e. family-scale enterprises) makes it extremely vulnerable to environmental change. Few other problems due to the expansion of aquaculture were reported. However, concern about its low manpower usage per hectare and fear of enhanced competition for fishermen (despite the fact that only 5% of aquaculture production is mandated for domestic consumption) was noted in Malta. Problems with inshore fishermen were also reported in Cyprus. In Israel, the only socio-economic problems experienced have been when specific ventures have failed and the whole community is financially impacted. While aquaculture seems to be overwhelmingly beneficial, the apparent absence of major problems may reflect the relatively small scale of aquaculture in most countries. No specific research programmes which examine the socio-economic effects of aquaculture were reported, except in Egypt, but the inclusion of aquaculture within general environmental and socio-economic academic projects was noted in Malta and Romania.

The question which was posed in the outlines for the national reports which enquired to what extent local communities are organised into associations, and what the relationships of such associations are with the activities of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries, appears to have been inadequately specific. Some reports refer only to the formation of aquaculture producers associations or membership of aquaculture trade unions, rather than local community associations. Despite this confusion, community associations were reported to be generally positive towards aquaculture in one country (Croatia), and some conflicts were reported with local fishing communities in two island States. In Greece, all aquafarmers in coastal lagoons are reported to belong to cooperatives. National norms concerning the rights, health and safety of its employees are applied by the aquaculture production sector in every country. However, one report noted that aquaculture employees were excluded from an accelerated retirement scheme which is available for those employed in stressful and physically taxing conditions.

4.3.2 The public climate for aquaculture

The general attitude of the public

So far, public opinion towards aquaculture in many countries appears to be generally positive, but this may be because its public profile remains low or because the industry is mainly export oriented. In some cases, aquaculture is regarded as another form of agriculture (livestock production). One report indicated that the general public is rather oblivious of aquaculture. Aquaculture is also generally regarded as a means of increasing food production, increasing revenue, and providing employment. However, some public concern (sometimes strong) is expressed about the visual and environmental impact of aquaculture, and the competition which it is perceived to create for fishermen. Negative public attitudes towards aquaculture on a national scale often only occur if a local problem is not quickly resolved. However, the tourism industry is clearly a major opponent of aquaculture (particularly coastal aquaculture) in many countries of the region.

NGOs and the aquaculture industry

Most local environmental NGOs appear to be either positive or neutral towards aquaculture development. The only international NGO activity which was reported relates to those who regard fish farms mainly as nature reserves. While fish farmers may support the establishment of conservation areas, they regard it difficult to manage a fish farm which is regarded as a conservation area and make a profit. However, aquaculturists and conservationists are reported to be cooperating in the protection of Italian marshes and lagoons, and some examples of cooperation between producers and environmental organisations were reported in Greece. Elsewhere, local NGOs seem more concerned with industrial pollution than the impact of aquaculture. However, the "easy ride" which aquaculture has had from NGOs and lobby organisations in most reporting countries of the region probably reflects the small scale of its activities so far. It might be expected that the attitude of Mediterranean aquaculture producers towards NGOs and lobby groups would reflect the generally low level of exposure to attacks on the industry. However, disputes with NGOs or avoidance of regulations (mainly concerning conservation, particularly of wading birds) were reported in some countries. In addition, sensitivity to the views of NGOs seems to be unexpectedly high (perhaps due to frequent stories about their activities in other parts of the world in the international aquaculture media).

In several countries, the attitude of aquaculture producers towards NGOs was stated to be generally defensive, sceptical, or critical of their ignorance of aquaculture. On the other hand, some specific examples of dialogue between aquaculture producers associations and NGOs, concerning the protection of birds, the environmental impact of cage farming in the Red Sea, and moves to encourage a positive and collaborative approach towards the sector, were reported.

Generally, existing or newly formed aquaculture producers' and professional aquaculture associations are expected to defend the industry against criticism from those concerned with aquaculture impacts. No special "defence" organisations have been established so far, and no membership of international organisations, such as the Global Aquaculture Alliance (not surprisingly, because its publicised activities have so far been confined to marine shrimp fanning), was reported.

Aquaculture and the consumer

Aquaculture producers are becoming increasingly consumer oriented in defining quality attributes but this is often dictated by the need to satisfy the requirements of export consumer markets and legislation (e.g. EU). However, some countries indicated that there was little pressure to become consumer oriented, because aquaculture products were already regarded as fresher and cleaner than those from the local capture fisheries, or because the high demand (and value) of fanned products made it unnecessary. On the other hand, the industry in one country was reported to be very responsive to preferences for marine rather than freshwater fish, sea bream rather than sea bass, smoked rather than fresh trout, and flesh and colour characteristics in farmed fish which resemble those which are wild-caught. Specific actions have been taken by aquaculture producers in a number of countries to improve dialogue with their consumers. These have included mass media advertising, the use of fish merchants as intermediaries, direct contact with consumers and housewives associations (in homes and through farm-gate sales), the publication of recipes, and prompt reaction to complaints. In only a few countries has there been an attempt to publicise the "political correctness" of farmers' attitudes towards the concept of responsible aquaculture, and in most cases they were confined to personal discussions with buyers or to providing products with labels clearly identifying their farm source (thus promoting the image of a particular supplier). An exception is France, where the application of quality indices (site, strain, nutritional value) has led to the national quality grid, which favours the commercialisation of the products of mollusc culture. Most countries reported that producers had not organised general promotions of the industry as a responsible activity, and, with a few exceptions (Greece, Italy) there were no comments on the existence or potential of "eco-labelling" in the reports.

Similarly, there seems to be little current action to educate consumers about such topics as the need for increased aquaculture production, the nutritional benefits of aquaculture products, or (with a few exceptions) the importance for the aquaculture industry to be assured of a good operational environment. Generally, the perception seems to be that fish, being a healthy food, "sells itself and that its cost is the only major factor in the choice of purchasers, but there was some limited recognition that there may be more need for promotion if the market becomes saturated with aquaculture products.

4.3.3 Animal welfare


While specific national legislation on the treatment of aquatic animals during rearing, or at the time of slaughter, does not exist, current or planned general animal welfare legislation either actually covers aquatic animals, or is presumed to cover them in most countries. Some reports refer to EU regulations or to the rules for scientific experimentation with vertebrates. Despite this, the treatment of aquatic animals appears to be mainly pragmatic, based on the effect of good rearing and slaughter practices on product quality, and therefore value, rather than on ethical principles. One report noted that existing national legislation concerning animal welfare specifically does not include aquacultured animals and, since the public normally purchases fish dead, there is little concern for the method by which they are reared or slaughtered. In another report it was noted that attitudes to this topic vary according to the individual farmer. This is probably true everywhere, in the absence of specific education and legislation in this field.

Aquaculture and protected and endangered species

There was an almost unanimous perception that birds (principally cormorants, but also other wading birds, and pelicans) are the major predators affecting aquaculture. The need for an international programme on cormorant impact was suggested in one report, while another report (from Croatia, where aquaculture producers are paid compensation for cormorant damage) noted cases of uneven interpretation of the rules during enforcement, "elastic" assessments of damage, and confusion about which species were protected (since the protected list was fluid, and contained some species which no longer needed protection, while omitting others which now needed it). The use of predator nets, wires and acoustic devices to avoid bird predation was noted. Conflicts between bird protection groups and aquaculture producers were reported in some countries and NGO concern for dolphins, which could be aquaculture predators, was also noted.

4.4 Cooperation at national, sub-regional and regional level

The participation of aquaculture producers (in many cases through their associations), aquaculture suppliers, and the buyers of aquaculture produce in the formulation and implementation of policies, strategies and plans which pertain to responsible aquaculture development is gradually increasing. This participation is normally manifested through informal ad hoc discussions but there was one case (Cyprus) where some official provision for this exists within current aquaculture legislation. The existing degree of general cooperation at the national level among the private, public and academic sectors is reported to be good and improving in every country which reported. However, there is little indication that this extends far towards the concept of responsible aquaculture and the application of its principles. Further education on this topic is necessary before it can be fully understood, accepted, and put into practice. A number of other regional projects (e.g. funded by FAO, EU, Arab League) and bilateral projects which have relevance to the general concept of responsible aquaculture were listed in the various reports. However, apart from the current Italian-supported project, of which this document is a synthesis, no regional or sub-regional projects directly concerned with the CCRF exist.

A strong enthusiasm for participation in regional activities concerned with the CCRF (and to continue collaboration with other regional or sub-regional aquaculture development and information activities which are relevant) was expressed in every national report. Particular keenness for joint activities which would enable better access to EU markets was expressed in some reports. However, there were no comments about the possibility of common marketing activities related to aquaculture products except in the report from Turkey, which expressed interest but noted possible constraints related to proprietary commercial knowledge. A marked willingness to share information was expressed in every report because this was regarded to have marked potential to further the cause of responsible aquaculture, within the Code, in the Mediterranean. A large number of institutions which might play an active role in promoting collaboration in support of the Code's acceptance and its application were mentioned. In addition to the relevant national government, academic, and private sectors in each country, these included international aid and loan organisations (e.g. FAO, EU, UNDP, WB, UNEP, and their various commissions and programmes), regional producers associations (FEAP), international (WAS) or regional (EAS) aquaculture societies, and NGOs. One report (Italy) noted that FEAP was already working on an European Code of Conduct for aquaculture.

Finally, a number of potential constraints which might inhibit cooperation in developing responsible aquaculture practices and attitudes were identified. These included:

· uneven national progress towards responsible practices, leading to discrimination against the products of some countries;

· political conflicts;

· limited skilled personnel and facilities;

· resistance by producers to controls, particularly those imposed by importing countries;

· financial and legislative constraints; and

· fear of losing national competitive advantages.

4.5 Producer organisations

A summary of the names, date of foundation, type, membership, and functions of aquaculture producer organisations was requested in this section of the national reports. The information provided is summarised in Table 3. The producers associations listed for Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Malta, Morocco, and one of those listed for Turkey (TURKSU) are reported to assist in the promotion of responsible aquaculture. The methods used, where stated, include participation in the elaboration of regulations and establishment of policies, participation in seminars, consultations, and scientific meetings, and providing support for controls on introductions and the establishment of HACCP.

4.6 Trade in aquaculture products

4.6.1 Farm-gate to point of sale
4.6.2 Marketing
4.6.3 Quality and safety assurance

4.6.1 Farm-gate to point of sale

Details about the farm-gate to point-of-sale treatment (handling, processing and distribution) of aquaculture products were provided in most of the national reports and are summarised in Table 4.

4.6.2 Marketing

Very little specific information was provided in the national reports about the contribution of aquaculture products to the balance of trade and to foreign exchange earnings (Table 5). Considerable efforts to increase fish consumption by the private sector were reported in most countries (but c/f section 4.3.2). Consumers are reported to favour aquaculture products over their captured equivalents in a number of countries. The superior quality of fanned mussels, and the freshness, availability, quality, price, nutritional value, and hygienic rearing conditions of finfish, were cited as the reasons for this preference. Attempts to specifically promote farmed aquaculture products domestically were reported in some countries (Greece, Israel, Italy, Turkey) but others were said to regard this as unnecessary because they were destined only for the rich, or intended mainly for export. Apart from individual preferences, little domestic consumer discrimination against aquaculture products was reported. The major exceptions were in the reports from Cyprus (where wild marine finfish are preferred to farmed fish and marine fish are favoured over freshwater fish) and Turkey (where it was noted that cultured sea bass and sea bream were regarded as "fake").

Access to international markets

In most countries, trade controls are not reported to cause major difficulties for aquaculture products. However, the rule that farms must export 95% of their product is noted in Malta, and trade liberalisation and reductions in customs levies is expected to increase competition from other countries in Israel, especially from those with lower quality standards. The import duty on fresh fish is seen as favourable to fish culture in Cyprus. The only major problem identified was in the report from Turkey, where EU trade bans in 1998 on fresh fishery products significantly affected aquaculture. These problems were quickly overcome by adaptation to the regulations but a local sense of harsh treatment and possible prejudice by the EU remains. Other countries were also reported to have had real or potential difficulties for non-EU in marketing their products in the EU. These included the prohibition on imports of shellfish into the EU, which requested enhanced monitoring practices in the rearing areas, a 15% export duty on table-sized fish and 16% on fry, and increased production costs generated by EU regulations which generally inhibited exports. However, the use of internationally accepted management practices are believed to positively assist the overseas marketing of aquaculture products in some countries; in other words, a market value can be placed on compliance. This provides an advantage for those producers which have ready access to information about international markets and an ability to rapidly adapt to their quality requirements.

A number of real or perceived barriers to the international trade of aquaculture products were reported, but most of these related to export into the EU. These problems include general EU restrictions on imports from non-EU countries (Bulgaria), the discriminatory misuse of EU regulations (Cyprus), the subsidies available to EU aquaculture producers (Morocco), and a specific temporary EU ban on imports from Turkey in 1998 which was regarded as contrary to free trade principles. Other reported hidden barriers to trade in aquaculture products which were reported included unfair competition from fishing and fish trading companies (Bulgaria) and the high cost of imported goods (Morocco).

4.6.3 Quality and safety assurance

Attitudes, linkages, and trained personnel

In general, aquafarmers are aware of the commercial importance of producing high quality products. The major motives are to achieve the highest price for their products and to maintain a good reputation with purchasers, as stated in some reports, but compliance with legal requirements is also a factor. Ethical, as well as commercial motives were also mentioned as being important in some countries. However, in the Danubian countries existing farmers were stated to be only marginally aware of the importance of quality but new producers learn through marketing failures. The incentive which principally governs the production of high quality aquaculture products is the necessity to adhere to regulations, particularly when wishing to export. HACCP was reported to be applied in some countries, adherence to EU regulations was noted in others. Cyprus is reported to have given subsidies to upgrade processing facilities to EU standards, to improve export potential. In the report from Malta, it was stressed that though no special incentives were available, close partnership between the public and private sectors helped to achieve the national aquaculture industry's reputation for quality. Only one report (Malta) reported that strict quality controls were imposed in imported fingerlings for aquaculture.

Producers generally accept government controls on quality and safety but no defined cooperative links between the aquaculture industry and other related sectors (such as the capture fishery industry, livestock production, and food processing) or others groups (such as wholesale fish merchants, retail fishmongers, national or international export organisations, etc.) to define rules and organise the control of quality seem to exist in any country. However, a link with tourism is being explored in Croatia and informal cooperation with wholesalers and retailers, but not with the capture fisheries sector, was reported in Cyprus. In one country, Israel, it was reported that the fish breeders association will not sell farmed fish to fishmongers who refuse to comply with sanitary regulations, in order to preserve the corporate reputation of the farmers.

Trained public sector staff were reported to be available to support the aquaculture industry in the implementation of quality assurance programmes and to verify their effectiveness in every country except Romania, while an inadequacy was noted in Turkey. However, the need for further training, coordination and information sharing for these staff was recognised in some countries. The assistance provided in this respect to Cyprus through FAO TCP/CYP/5611 was acknowledged, and on-the-job and foreign training was reported to be already in progress in Bulgaria. The availability of some large private companies offering quality implementation services was noted in Malta, while training offered by universities, the fish farming association, and the government was mentioned in the report from Turkey.

The Codex Alimentarius and HACCP

The Codex Alimentarius and/or HACCP was reported to be applied to aquaculture products in several countries, in some cases quite recently, but there are some exceptions. In some, no reasons were stated; in others, economic conditions were reported to be inhibiting their application, or they had been applied to products for export but not yet for domestic consumption, or the industry was currently being assisted in their application. Increased confidence in, and demand for, aquaculture products because of their application was reported in Malta.

The cost of quality

Consumer resistance to paying higher prices for good quality aquaculture products was reported in some countries. It is not apparent in others, for a variety of reasons which include the small quantity of farmed fish domestically available in one country; a positive desire for quality (both by rich and poor consumers) in another; or (in one country) because aquaculture products do not achieve a higher price than captured fish. Only two countries mentioned an actual (Croatia) or expected (Cyprus) movement towards the purchase of alternative types of food if the prices for high quality cultured fish rose significantly above captured fish.

Certification as a guarantee of quality

The certification of coastal areas where molluscs are cultured was reported in most countries where mollusc culture was a major activity, and the monitoring processes which are used to ensure the safety of these products for domestic sale or export are summarised the national reports. No special initiatives (for example as "being produced in an environmentally acceptable manner") appear to have been taken towards the certification of aquaculture products themselves. (see also 4.3.2: Aquaculture and the consumer)

4.7 Information on responsible aquaculture

Sources of information and the application of the concept

In some reports, national standards for monitoring the responsibility of aquaculture production were cited to be available within relevant regulations. The national sources of information include government departments, scientific institutes, aquaculture societies, and fisheries NGOs. No voluntary codes on responsible aquaculture, apart from the FAO CCRF, appear to exist yet, although moves are being made by FEAP in this direction. The FAO CCRF, EU environmental regulations, HACCP, and global information systems (larger farms in Croatia were cited as using these) were cited as international sources of information on this subject.

An important point was raised in the report from Israel, which stated that the CCRF would be of little value until it was translated into Hebrew. This is undoubtedly true elsewhere and efforts to have the CCRF translated into all the major languages of the region are essential. The present status concerning the application of responsible aquaculture practices ranged from "unsatisfactory" (Romania), through "progressing" (Turkey) and "insufficient" (Croatia, Morocco), to "acceptable" (Israel), but the reports of some countries (Cyprus, Egypt) did not deal with this topic.

The methods cited as having potential for improving the situation are summarised as:

· providing education for new aquafarmers;

· providing foreign training for producers, administrators, researchers, and traders, in countries where responsible aquaculture is predominantly practised;

· conducting media publicity and advertising;

· making membership of national aquaculture societies mandatory for producers;

· integrating aquaculture with other activities, including tourism, crop and animal production, and waste utilisation;

· improving national regulatory frameworks (more coordination; clearer ministerial authority);

· preparing national aquaculture plans, where non-existent;

· harmonisation with EU standards by non-EU countries;

· improving the speed of information transfer from government and academic institutions to producers;

· seeking enhanced cooperation from the aquaculture industry;

· establishing a common information (computer?) network on responsible aquaculture; and

· establishing regional programmes for cooperation on responsible aquaculture.

4.8 Conclusions drawn from the synthesis

What follows are summary conclusions on what has emerged from reading and analysing the various sections of the national reports. However, they do not represent an action plan, although have to be taken into consideration for their preparation. The reader is referred to the second document "Elements of an Action Plan for the Promotion of Responsible Aquaculture in the Mediterranean" for additional and more structured ideas on what could be a follow-up of this Consultation.

Concerning promotion of the concept of responsible aquaculture, it would be useful to conduct sub-regional workshops on the Code for environmental administrators and academics, as a prelude to the national organisation of training courses for the members of producers associations as a means of diffusion. The Code needs to be translated into local languages.

In view of the experience of other regions, a decline in the general attitude towards aquaculture can be expected unless pre-empted now. The public therefore needs education about the positive benefits of aquaculture before attacks arise. Dialogue with environmental, food safety and conservation NGOs, leading to mutual benefits and perhaps joint projects, must be encouraged. A specific example might be a regional programme on aquaculture predation and the protection of wading birds Education and legislation on aquatic animal welfare needs to be improved.

It is essential to endeavour to cooperate with environmental NGOs. Further efforts have to be made to improve the monitoring of the environment by public authorities, in a way which safeguards not only other resource users but also aquaculture itself. Better coordination of the various authorities concerned with monitoring is required. Public authorities should provide training in environmental quality control methodology for farmers. They should also make greater use of the environmental information which producers generate. There should be parity in punishment for all resource users who damage the environment. Procedures for speedy conflict resolution need to be set up.

Further integration of aquaculture with the activities of other common resource users (e.g. crop and livestock production, thermal effluents, irrigation) is desirable. It would also be beneficial to find means of linking aquaculture with tourism activities. Coordination, at the planning stage and in the management of resources, particularly land and water, is desirable. Support, probably international, is required for the preparation of national aquaculture plans, or the improvement of existing plans. In addition, all national and local resource use plans (e.g. for coastal zone management, or water use) must include a consideration of aquaculture and must be consonant with national aquaculture plans. The processes for reviewing the success or failure of plans need improvement. The creation of aquaculture zones in those countries which do not already have them would aid the implementation of responsible aquaculture.

In its broadest sense (through tax breaks, free training and advice, assistance with monitoring and the supply of monitoring equipment, and the supply of fingerlings for pilot activities) modernisation of aquaculture technology needs to be supported, especially in certain countries of the region. States should also increase the availability of specialised personnel.

Aquaculture as a means of diet and income diversification needs greater emphasis. The multiple use of resources and the integration of aquaculture with local traditional production activities (e.g. the use of fish ponds as reservoirs; encouraging fishermen to double as aquaculturists) should be encouraged and community associations need to be more involved in aquaculture development. The problem of obtaining credit lines for small-scale producers without substantial security needs to be addressed. The socio-economic effects of aquaculture development need examination by specific research projects.

The evaluation of potential introductions should carefully consider not only the possible detrimental effects but also the likely economic benefits. The private sector needs training on the reasons for concern over introductions and transfers. The precautionary approach to the use of aquatic GMOs needs to be applied, in consonance with EU regulations and in recognition of the poor public image of GMOs generally, and the region should monitor the effect of their use in other regions. Regional cooperation on the use of GMOs would be valuable.

The incidence of disease outbreaks should be minimised by further training, and exchange of information between producers and with health authorities at national, sub-regional and regional levels, and similar cooperation concerning emergency actions concerning food safety should be supported. Farmer cooperation in reporting disease outbreaks should be encouraged by seeking methods of compensating farmers who have to destroy stock, by government and/or insurance.

Eco-friendly aquafeeds need to be promoted in the private sector, together with training in methods of assessing the environmental benefits, nutritional efficiency and cost-benefits of applying alternative feeds and feeding strategies. Information transfer on research for replacing marine ingredients in aquafeeds needs to be improved. Those who control the use of therapeutants, hormones and chemicals need further education and monitoring improvements are necessary. Responsible attitudes to the use of such materials needs to be developed in anticipation of the concerns of consumers. Insurance companies should be encouraged to more promote responsible aquaculture, possibly by inserting the Code within insurance policies.

Improvements in the dissemination of research results to farmers, in a usable form, are needed. Existing sources of information on responsible aquaculture need better publicity. Information needs to be provided for the media, to generate publicity to promote aquaculture as an essential and responsible food producing sector, not an environmentally harmful industry. Training for producers, administrators, researchers and traders in the concept and its practices is required. Both industrial and traditional fish farmers need national training (at different levels of skill) in general environmental matters and most farmers would benefit from training in waste management, in order to increase their ability to profitably but responsibly use resources.

The establishment of single national producer associations needs to be encouraged, and regional linkages between them would have merit. The effect of trade controls on aquaculture in the region needs examination. Ways should be sought to remove the real or perceived discrimination against aquaculture products, perhaps by setting up a regional trade commission. The region should lobby for a single, independent, internationally monitored, eco-labelling system for aquaculture products to be set up. If global cooperation proves impossible, a Mediterranean aquaculture eco-label might have merit. Aquaculture products and their quality could be marketed in conjunction with the tourism industry ("the Costa Aqua", to include visits to fish farms and restaurants to experience the quality of their products?). Certain countries (e.g. Romania, Turkey) need further training on quality aspects (HACCP, Codex, etc.).

Using the current project as a pump-primer, regional and sub-regional cooperation on improving and adapting the Code for regional needs and the promotion of responsible aquaculture, which involves existing producers associations, needs support. Rural and coastal communities should also be included in such project(s). Activities could include education on the CCRF, sub-regional projects to improve access to EU markets and harmonisation with EU regulations, an information network on the CCRF. A regional commission to resolve resource use and other conflicts involving aquaculture should be considered.

Table 1. Major provisions in national aquaculture plans




· sustainable development;
· EIAs;
· environmental monitoring; and
· caution over future expansion.
· production targets;
· limits on the expansion of existing farms;
· limits on the establishment of new farms;
· minimum water depths and cage separation;
· GESAMP monitoring procedures, with costs to be borne by the industry;
· targets for (species) diversification, the development of cage technology;
· criteria for new entrants to the production sector (with priority for local people, especially fishermen);
· the inclusion of marine aquaculture in all coastal management plans; and
· the urgent implementation of the legal framework set up by the aquaculture legislation.
Importantly, the aquaculture plan of Cyprus sets a relatively short timespan for its revision (three years).


Expanding the development of aquaculture through encouraging:
· support for existing ventures, particularly those with GAFRD land leases;
· investment in aquaculture, particularly marine and intensive aquaculture;
· technical support for improving traditional farms;
· the supply of healthy fry and fingerlings at reasonable cost;
· support for Nile tilapia hatcheries;
· the production of balanced aquafeeds;
· the establishment of joint ventures, especially in marine aquaculture, with partners from developed countries; and
· non-conventional and integrated aquaculture.


The major plan (Section 3 - Aquaculture - of the Operational Fishery Business Plan) allows for the:
· construction, expansion, modernisation and relocation of aquaculture units;
· new infrastructure for the development of coastal lagoons and other fisheries exploitation;
· improvements (expansion, modernisation, relocation) of existing infrastructure within the sector;
· establishment of new units for the farming of new species with commercial value;
· establishment of plans for fundamental research; and
· rational organisation of fisheries trade.
Grant aid of up to 40% of the investment costs is available within Sector 10 of this plan - Infrastructure and Fishery Research.
The first of the complementary plans (Pesca Business Plan) allows for the:
· establishment of small businesses, adapted to the requirements and trends of the market, for new species (pilot and production phases);
· integration of fish farming with tourism;
· assistance in solving the problems in production administration and trading;
· rationalisation of trading networks;
· promotion of quality standards and trademarks; and
· (amongst fish catch administration plans) establishment of a coastal lagoon administration system, in addition to the protection and improvement of income for those involved in coastal lagoon exploitation.
The second of the complementary plans provides for:
· subsidies or partially subsidised loans for investment & running costs; and
· ten-year tax exemption (for farms of at least five years establishment) on non-distributed profits.


Within the fisheries plan, calls for the:
· development of offshore aquaculture;
· intensification of inland aquaculture through recirculation systems to minimise water consumption;
· use of desert saline waters for aquaculture; and
· species diversification;
These plans are reported to comply with Articles 9.1, 9.3, and 9.4 of the CCRF.


The two main sections of the plan, dedicated to "aquaculture and the environment" and "fisheries, aquaculture, tradition and culture", deal with:
· the relationship between aquaculture production and environmental protection;
· intensive aquaculture and pollution risks; and
· the introduction of new species.
Guidelines for research activities in support of the sector are defined, and include:
· the conservation of the natural biological population;
· the selection of new eco-friendly therapeutants;
· product quality standards; and
· aquaculture environmental impact.
A special plan for freshwater aquaculture:
· favours activities compatible with environmental conservation; and
· regulates extensive aquaculture and re-stocking practices.


· sets a maximum on the number and size of hatcheries, and limits their location;
· sets visual impact and size limitations on large (>150 t) offshore facilities and their land bases;
· limits the number and size of new large-scale units, and sets time limits for their initiation;
· identifies six search areas for EIA for possible future aquaculture development;
· defines a further fifteen conservation areas where aquaculture will only be permitted if it can be shown to enhance conservation management;
· sets maximum numbers and size for new small-scale land-based units;
· defines norms for management, rehabilitation rules, fish health, and personal responsibility; and
· prescribes programmes for monitoring and reporting.


· the optimisation of reservoir use to increase extensive aquaculture production;
· the provision of support for intensive land-based marine aquaculture by assisting producers to achieve a competitive position in the EU market; and
· promoting domestic bivalve mollusc consumption, increasing sanitary control, and developing oyster and clam culture.

Table 2. Evaluation criteria for assessing requests for approval for aquaculture ventures





· Trout and sturgeon culture evaluated related to their export potential
· No other or specific criteria described

· Some national sanitary requirements are said to be more severe than EU ones


· New projects are evaluated according to the legislation, permits, etc.
· Business takes the risk, insures, and raises finance

· Most development projects at present are regeneration projects
· Sometimes national or local government loans are available but usually at commercial rates
· Difficult to find a typical example; each venture is examined on a case-by-case basis


· Environmental monitoring
· Assess compliance with EIA provisions, terms and conditions of licence, and legislative provisions
· Assess the overall performance of the farms (FCR, fish prod per person employed; production per unit area/volume; etc)


· Definition of the land area
· Ensure that the farm will not have a negative environmental impact
· Assess the feasibility study of the venture

· Described in a GAFRD Directive


· No information


· Existence of suitable areas
· Water quality and quantity (land-based units)
· Water depth
· Project viability

· There is a specific law which protects the quality of water in which aquaculture units operate


· Compliance with the aims of national aquaculture plans
· In the priority regions
· Compliance with the rules of responsible fisheries
· Approval from the District.

· These are the criteria for Government financial support


· No specific information

· There is a progressive harmonisation between fisheries and aquaculture


· Conforms with the Malta Maritime Authority Act relating to shipping issues
· In an approved "search area"
· Approval of related authorities


· a "simple" technical and economic study of the project
· the company profile
· in the case of coastal projects, proof of its social acceptability

· responsibility in resource use, access to credit, a licence, and insurance is not considered, because the aquaculture sector is still small


· Production target is realistic and can be achieved
· Farm has an effective plan for fingerling supply or production
· Adequate measures for environmental protection
· Project fits Romanian and EU regulations on product quality
· Production makes use of local resources (services, personnel, etc.)
· Credit is not available from another source

· Credit can be obtained through the Romanian Fund for the Guarantee of small and medium-size producers, which will reasonably protect investors. The criteria for considering the enterprise for support are shown on the left


· Aquaculture must not create conflicts with other productive activities. Local as well as national development policies are taken into account


· Authorisation granted by an interdepartmental commission
· Technical and economic viability (including species to be reared)
· Satisfactory investment plan


· Mandatory EIA
· Credits approved according to general guidelines set by government for agriculture and livestock production

· Checked by MARA according to technical and economic feasibility.

Table 3. National producers associations


Producers associations


Bulgarian Fishing Association. (1998). Fishing. fish processing, fish trade, aquaculture.
Bulgarian Fish Producers Association. Aquaculture. production, marketing, training extension.


The Aquaculture Group of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. Includes companies for freshwater and marine aquaculture faculties and research institutes. Established in 1996 by merging the Freshwater Fisheries Group with the Marine Fisheries Group. The Aquaculture Group has an executive Committee and works in plenary sessions. Cooperates with Government institutes in the preparation of laws and with research institutes. It organises symposia, workshops, congresses and publishes journals. Individual producers (tradesmen) are organised within the framework of the Croatian Chamber of Crafts and Trades. Regionally operates through the Professional Fisheries and Aquaculture Group.


Cyprus Mariculture Association. (1994) is a producers organisation (7 marine cage farms, 2 marine hatcheries and one shrimp farm. Promote the positions of its members and the interests of aquaculture in general.
CYFISH (1994) and Yalos (1996) are distribution companies with shareholders consisting of three and two marine cage farms respectively. Main objective is the distribution of members products.


Seven Aquaculture Cooperatives:
Damietta (1979). 433 members, mariculture and freshwater aquaculture.
Amryaa (1986). 25 members, mariculture.
Fayum (1993). 177 members, mariculture and freshwater aquaculture.
Sharkia (1978). 518 members, freshwater aquaculture.
Al-Tyna Plain (Port Said). (1996) 31 members, mariculture.
Edqu (1984). 125 members, general aquaculture activities.
General Aquatic Resources Cooperative (Cairo). (1987) Aquaculture supplies.


Finfish farming:
Fédération Française d'Aquaculture, FFA (1985).
Syndicat Français des Aquacultueurs Marins, SFAM (associated with FFA since 1994). 70% of French aquaculture enterprises belong, representing some 80% of total national production.
Syndicat des Selectioneurs Avicoles et Aquacoles Français. SYSAAF. Includes the major hatcheries.
Mollusc culture:
Comité National de la Conchyliculture, CNC.
Sections Régionales de la Conchyliculture, SRC.
Local professional organisations, such as cooperatives or producers unions.


Federation of Greek Mariculturists, FGM. Mariculture.
Greek Aquaculture Producers Union. Mariculture.
Fish Farmers Union of the Northern Aegean Sea, FFUNAS. Mariculture.
Fish Farmers of Dodecanese. Mariculture.
Aquaculture Producers Association of Northern Greece - Thessalonia. Inland aquaculture.
Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives Unions. PCACU.
Fisheries Cooperative CHALASTRA. Mussel culture.
Fisheries Cooperative EILIKRINEAI. Mussel culture.
Fisheries Cooperative of Kymina-Malgara. Mussel culture.
Greek Mussel Farmers -Mollusc Farmers Association. GMFMFA. Mussels.
Mussel Farmers Association of Piereia Prefecture. Mussel culture.
Mollusc culture Cooperative MAHRYGIALOS. Mussel culture


Fish Breeders Association. Founded some 50 years ago (voluntary membership). Tnuva, the largest agricultural market cooperative, open to members only, which also coordinates, with the Fish Breeders Organisation. the sale of most of the aquaculture products. Other commercial private outlets also exist. All other commercial sectors (suppliers of feed, equipment) are normal competitive entities.


Associazione Piscicoltori Italiani. (1964). The oldest Italian aquaculture organisation, and the only national one.


Malta Aquaculture Producers Association (MAPA). 1997. Non-profit organisation. Members: all farms' General Managers. Organises monthly meetings among members, participation in drafting or review of policies, plans and legislation related to aquaculture, discussion with related authorities on any problem affecting the industry. When asked about the MAPA, the NGOs said that they were not aware of its existence!


Association Marocaine de l'Aquaculture (AMA). 1996. Joins both freshwater and marine aquaculture producers. Problems: fish farmers can join the association simply by paying the corresponding registration fees while mollusc farmers can only be represented by two selected members. Because of this, and the commercial competition, it is difficult to have an overall consensus on the decisions taken by the Association. It has limited facilities and no head office (since its foundation, based in the MAROST offices). Despite these problems, AMA defends the private sector and works as an intermediary with the public administration. Contacts with other resource users and NGOs are weak.




No information


Union Tunisienne de L'agriculture et de la PTA.


Bodrum Fisheries Society. 1993. Members are the local producers of sea bass and bream. NOT ACTIVE SINCE 1996. Its objective was cooperation between producers in order to assist MARA and other governmental bodies in their decision-making process.
Fisheries Society (SUDER). 1994. Members are university personnel, with some aquaculturists. Objectives same as Bodrum Society.
Turkish Fisheries Foundation (TURKSU). 1994. Members are university personnel. aquaculturists, fishermen and fishermen's associations, societies, and foundations related to industry, to assure assistance on major problems, the adoption of eco-friendly practices, etc.
Ege Aquaculturists Society (Turkish Aquaculture Soc.) 1996. Members are mostly sea bass and bream producers, as well as feed manufacturers, exporters and related industry. Objective is the unification of aquaculturists for the betterment of trade and working conditions. It is a member of FEAP.

Table 4. Handling of aquaculture products from farm-gate to point-of-sale


Handling, processing and distribution


No information.


Handling and processing:
1. Fish in accordance with HACCP..... harvesting, storage in containers with cooled seawater, selection, packing in polystyrene boxes/standard weights, storing in freezers 2-4C.
2. Shellfish into vessels, taken to cleansing area, rinsed in seawater, selected, packed in polystyrene nets. Labelled according to origin, weight, and date harvested.
refrigerated vans, with certificate of disinfection since previous use.


Handling and processing:
1. Trout are gutted immediately; sold chilled, frozen or smoked (whole or filleted); processing done by farmers or processing factory.
2. Marine fish (bass, bream) harvested, transported to packing facilities in icewater, where it is packed in ice in 10kg polystyrene boxes, used only once.
3. Fry marketed at 1.5g av.
4. Shrimp are graded by size, packed in special 0.5-1.0kg polystyrene containers. Sold fresh (seasonally) or frozen (quick-frozen at -40C, stored in freezers; not processed.
1. Trout sold by farm-gate or through supermarkets. Main consumer tourism.
2. By farmers, or by distribution companies set up by them.
3. By special vehicles or (for abroad) special ship.
4. Sold by producers.


Handling and processing:
1. Extensively raised: caught by trammel, gill, seine and cast, mostly at night by oared boats (motors create turbidity and over-fish); sorted into boxes on boat; iced on warm nights; delivered to collections points on shore, managed by cooperatives staff, usually with ice makers and store, weighing and sorting facilities; then sold to wholesalers by auction.
2. Pond reared: harvested in winter season by draining and hand-net scooping from catch ponds; taken to trucks on dykes; taken to handling and sorting hall; washed by running water; hand sorted by size and species; packed in plastic boxes; usually auctioned before harvest.
3. Cage cultured: harvested on demand; usually sold retail farm-gate.
1. through wholesalers to retailers.
2. through wholesalers to retailers.
3. normally farm-gate.


Methodologies vary, depending on the species and the culture sites. [No other information provided]


Handling and processing:
Harvested fish are killed in icewater, selected by size, placed in Felisol boxes and stored at 0-2°C. Farms with packing facilities follow EU packing regulations. Sea bass and sea bream are sold fresh, while trout are either processed or sold fresh.


Handling and processing:
1. Carps transported in O2 tanks to coop markets and sold to distributors.
2. Other fish sold mainly as whole, chilled. Some are processed, as whole scaled, whole scaled & eviscerated, or filleted. Processing plants also prepare individual portions ready for cooking.
Some farms sell live farm-gate.


No information


Handling and processing:
1. For export, harvested from cages or ponds; killed on ice; transferred to land base packing facility of farm; size graded; packed in 7 kg polystyrene under ice according to EU regulations.
2. Domestic sold to wholesalers and then on to mongers, s-markets, and restaurants.
1. For export, refrigerated containers on Ro-Ro vessels, reaching continental EU within 24 hrs by main agent or buyer.


Handling, processing and distribution:
1. Molluscs: size grading and cleaning (1-2 hours/t); depuration (48 hours if fanned in zone B); packing (1 hour/5t).
2. Fish: starved (2-3 days); harvested (1-2 hours); transferred to packing facility. Size graded; packed and weighed; ice added and closed with plastic film; labelled.
3. Aquaculture products are sold fresh.


Handling, processing and distribution:
1. Molluscs: manually harvested, washed with sea water, transport at 0-4C, live packed, transport to point of sale, sold live.
2. Inland finfish: harvested with specific engines, transported live or fresh following sanitary legislation, processed according to the product and kind of market, distributed to specialised centres (fishery and fanned fish) equipped with the necessary devices. No clear distinction exist among producer, middle-man and wholesaler. This depend on the economic power of each society. An intermediary sector increasing the quality of product transport is needed.


No information


Handling, processing and distribution:
1. Molluscs: delivered to collection points and then transported to depuration units. Following depuration they are packed live and sent to domestic market or exported.
2. Inland fish: harvested and transported to market by refrigerated trucks.
3. Marine fish: killed in icewater and stored in freezers. Then sorted by size, packed in polystyrene boxes with ice, and transported fresh to the domestic market or to the airport by refrigerated trucks. All products are inspected by the Veterinary Service before sale.


Handling. processing and distribution:
1. Extensive: no direct sales.
2. Inland aqua: small farms sell 60% farm-gate; large farms market theirs and other's directly to hotels, restaurants and mongers. 75% fresh; 15% live and 10% cleaned and smoked (value-added).
3. Coastal: small quantity of bivalves and marine fish sold directly in fish markets.
4. Land based, inshore and offshore: portion sized sold fresh; 65% is exported as fresh-chilled; 25% farm-gate; 10% to restaurants and mongers or in fish markets.

Table 5. Contribution of aquaculture to the balance of trade and foreign exchange earnings





Total fisheries and aquaculture production is < 1% of GRP



No information

2000 t (DEM 15 million)


60% of fish consumed locally is imported; thus opportunities for aquaculture exist

a) Only small quantities of table-sized fish exported
b) Exports fry


Almost all marketed domestically

Almost nil


33% by weight and 37% by value of the total national fisheries production. No information on contribution to domestic consumption

Primarily towards the southern European countries


No information

Significantly increased since the mid 1990s


Aquaculture contributes 2.4% of agriculture, which in turn contributes 1.8% of GNP

No exports mentioned


Supplies 100% of national trout and eel consumption and 30% of domestic sea bass and sea bream

10% of trout production and 50% of eel production is exported


Only 5% of aquaculture products may be consumed domestically

See domestic


No information

US$ 4.2 million (total fisheries = US$ 700 million)


No information

0.01% of total exports


No information

No information


30% of marine and 100% of freshwater fish and mussel production

70% of marine fish and almost all oyster and clam production


No information

0.2% of total exports

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