A detailed list of all existing hatcheries or hatchery plans today in Greece is given in Appendix 4. These 21 projects can be divided into the following groups, according to their state of progress.
The Operational Hatcheries (Private)
The only hatchery operating at a commercial level in Greece is the one of Cephalonian Fisheries. A small-scale hatchery is operating in Leros Island, owned by a private individual. Both these projects were briefly discussed above.
Hatcheries Under Construction
Rhodes Aquaculture farm in Rhodes Island has a hatchery ready for operation, but due to delays in the construction of the pumping station, no water is available at the moment. The hatchery could operate from next winter 1987/88.
Two other hatcheries, both financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, are at the initial stage of construction: Bogonitsa on Amvrakikos Gulf, and Kyparissi (Fisheries Cooperative, PASEGES). The first one will not be operational for two years, while the second one should be operating by winter 1988/89.
Hatcheries for which Grants Have Been Approved
These are four large-scale private hatcheries: one on Amvrakikos Gulf, again; one in the Peloponnese; one on Ithaki Island (close to Cephalonia); and the last one on Evia Island. These hatcheries could be operational within two years, depending on the construction starting date and time needed.
Hatcheries for Which Grants Have Been Applied For
A further six large-scale hatchery plans were presented for grant application: three of them on Evia Island (two private and 1 cooperative); two private ones in the Peloponnese and Igoumenitsa; and one in Messolonghi, which is presented by the Agricultural Bank of Greece (40%) and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Technology (60%).
This group includes the three main State hatcheries for which an international bid will be announced soon (Ministry of Agriculture), located respectively in Pylos (Messinia, Peloponnese), in Pteleos (Volos), and Sagadia (Igoumenitsa). The others are the experimental hatcheries of the Institute of Marine Biology of Crete and the National Marine Research Centre (both discussed above), and another private hatchery in Preveza (Amvrakikos Gulf).
The map in Appendix 5 illustrates the geographic distribution of all these hatcheries and it can easily be seen that they cover the main important development areas for marine aquaculture:
North-western Greek, including Amvrakikos Gulf and the Ionian Islands
The Peloponnese, including the Gialova Lagoon (Pylos)
Evia Island and the coast in front of it
The eastern Aegean Islands
Two further areas seem to have good potential for marine aquaculture:
Lesvos Island (Mitilini), with two main protected bays
the lagoons in the Kavala area (north-eastern Greece)
It would be desirable for these two areas to have local production of fry. Nevertheless, the cooperatives managing the lagoons in the Kavala area will be able to benefit from the production of the three State hatcheries of Igoumenitsa, Bogonitsa and Pteleos (Volos), as road transport of fry is feasible over such distances. For Lesvos Island the precariousness of lorry/ship transportation could justify the construction of an island hatchery at a later date.
The total production capacity of these hatcheries reaches about 30 million fry per year, which corresponds to a potential production of about 6.000 to 9.000 tons per year of market size fish. If more realistically, the following are assumed:
the hatchery projects under construction, or with approved grants, and the three planned State hatcheries (M.A.) will not be operational before winter 1989/1990;
50% of the hatchery projects with grants applied for will effectively be operational, and not before winter 1990/1991;
all the new hatcheries will, for at least the first two years of operation, produce at an average of 50% of their nominal capacity;
no other hatchery projects will be accepted (hypothesis);
the number of fry needed for each ton of marketable fish will progessively pass from 5 000 to 4 000;
the expected production during the coming years could be projected as follows:
|Years||Expected Fry Production||Expected Market Size Fish Production* (t/year)|
|1987||1 200 000|
|1988||1 900 000||240|
|1989||2 700 000||380|
|1990||9 000 000||540|
|1991||12 000 000||2 250|
|1992||18 000 000||3 000|
|1993||21 000 000||4 500|
* Not including production from imported fry.
These figures are of course indicative and do not represent a precise estimation of future production insofar as:
they do not consider the fry importation, which will remain low (limited export availability abroad, import difficulties and risks, etc.)
they do not consider the operation of further hatcheries
they also may be too optimistic regarding the effective achievement of the nominal production capacity of the operational hatcheries.
The plans of the Ministry of Agriculture include the forecast of a total production of 4 000 tons of market size sea bass and sea bream in Greece within the next five years. The table illustrated above shows that the actual hatchery situation in Greece and the forecast for the next few years could result in total yearly production of 3 000–4 000 tons within five years.
The common sale price in Italy of 1 g sea bass fry ranges from Dr 50 to 60, and for sea bream fry from Dr 100 to 130. The market prices in Italy for fry are not influenced by levels of hatchery production, which are still very low. Prices are fixed by the market of wild fry which currently represents about 80% of the total Italian market (10–12 million sea bass/sea bream fingerlings per year). The price of sea bass fry in other countries (France, Cyprus, etc.) is about the same as in Italy, while the price of sea bream is generally lower (Dr 60–80 per fingerling)
The production cost of sea bass/sea bream fry in Italy, for a large-scale hatchery (1.5–2 million fry per year), ranges from Dr 35 to 40 per fingerling. According to the figures given by Cephalonian Fisheries, the same production costs in Greece reach about Dr 70 per fingerling. Unit production costs in Italy are increasing by about 50% for a hatchery production capacity of 1 million fry per year and by about 100% for a medium-scale hatchery (around half a million fry per year).
The necessity for Greece to become self-sufficient in production of fry through the establishment of marine hatcheries arises from:
the insufficient amount of fry available from foreign countries
the inconstancy of this availability, in quantities and in time
the variability in quality of fry
the high risks and costs of fry transport from abroad, especially when ferry transportation is involved.
The fry cost represents about 30% of the production costs of market size fish. This is calculated on the basis of:
a hatchery production cost of Dr 70–80 per fry
a total production cost for a cage farm of Dr 1 100 per kg of market size fish (3/kg).
the need for 4–5 fingerlings for the production of 1 kg of market size fish.
The contribution of fry cost to the total production cost of sea bass and sea bream will decrease in the future with:
the reduction of the hatchery costs (higher survival rates, reduction of specialists' costs, lower contribution of financing costs)
the increase of fry quality and survival rates during on-growing (3–3.5 fingerlings for each produced kg of market size fish).
Although the basic conditions (suitable sites for cage farming, good water quality, favourable climatic conditions) exist in Greece for the development of a commercially viable mariculture industry, many constraints could drastically restrain this development. Most of these constraints, which were identified during the mission, are common to other leading countries like Italy and France, and represent, even now, a real brake on the establishment of a profitable aquaculture industry. Greece should benefit from the experience of these countries and should be able to avoid those mistakes which lead to very long starting times and high investments in terms of money and energy.
Most of the constraints reported hereafter concern not only marine hatcheries but also integrated marine farms.
The very early stage of mariculture development in Europe. Marine hatchery technology is very delicate and difficult (especially if compared with the well established salmonids' reproduction), and problems like lordosis and lack of swim bladders are still very much the order of the day in hatchery operations.
The lack of technical knowledge/information among the 130 ichthyologists working in the offices of the local Fisheries Departments. These personnel are mostly insufficiently prepared for the responsibility they have (evaluation of technical feasibility of aquaculture projects, suitability of sites, etc.).
The lack of technical capacity and trained personnel in Greece for carrying out formulation, design, construction supervision and management of a hatchery.
The general difficulty in finding and selecting consultants or consulting companies - even abroad - which are able to carry out a complete mariculture/hatchery project.
The consequent difficulty for Greek investors, private operators or public institutions in evaluating the reliability of the projects and the forecasts presented by the consultants.
A series of problems generally arise during the establishment phase of a marine hatchery/farm project, leading to a cost overrun and making this kind of investment difficult and risky with very slow return to the invested capital.
The high capital and operational costs of a marine hatchery.
The high interest rates and inflation existing in Greece.
The very long times needed for project establishment, from the licensing process to the release of credits, the payment of grants and the time for construction.
The lack of experience on the part of the financing institutions in supervising and foreseeing the difficulties of such an unusual investment.
The inflexibility of even specialized institutions, such as the EEC Fisheries Directorate, penalizing innovations and changes which inevitably become necessary in the time period (minimum 2 years) between the preparation of the study and the actual implementation of the project.
The lack of balance between the assistance given by financing institutions for the capital and the operational costs. High levels of assistance and low levels of personal contribution towards capital costs (max. 15%) make it attractive to an investor in the initial stages. However, after this stage the operator has to face full operational costs for a period of two years before he starts receiving some income from sales. No assistance is given to him during this stage, and the investor is, therefore, trapped into a high-cost operation with slow returns.
The lack of understanding on the part of local authorities/communities about marine aquaculture, who very often have the power to impede the implementation of a project. Most of the time problems arise from the belief that hatcheries and farms will pollute the environment. There is a need for accurate information about pollution risks to correct this.
The problems faced by management due to a total centralization of decision-making procedures in Greece. Hatcheries and fish farms are normally located in very isolated areas and many of the basic services - banking facilities, customs, government health laboratories, shipping agencies - depend on decisions from central offices in Athens. This problem is also increased by the ignorance of these officers towards import-export procedures of the very uncommon, “exotic” products involved in a hatchery operation (fish eggs, artemia cysts, enrichment diets, algae/rotifer strains, pharmaceuticals, fry, etc.).
The lack of good quality equipment in Greece needed for a marine hatchery (pumps, U.V. lamps, tanks, PVC pipes and specific parts, spare parts, etc.). This increases capital costs because of the need to import equipment, of the selection of reliable equipment, of the necessity to foresee safety features and to provide complete spare parts.
The necessity to operate with imported, expensive but reliable feed.