5.1 Government policy in the region
5.2 Government organizations in the region
5.3 Aquaculture legislation
5.4 Trade and business associations
5.5 Information resources for management
5.6 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector
Government policy statements regarding the interest and importance of national aquaculture were rare in the sixties, but increased throughout the seventies. At the present time all countries in the region include statements on aquaculture development in their National Development Plans. Today aquaculture is considered an important national economic sector by most countries of the region, but it is still far from being a key political issue, with the exception of the three main production areas of France, Italy, and Spain.
The two main themes regarding aquaculture which are highlighted in public statements are (1) at the national level, the potential of the sector to contribute to the national demand for fisheries products, and to generate income from the exports of high value products; and (2) at the local level, the potential of the sector to generate year-round employment in depressed coastal areas where there is little or no industrial activity, limited agricultural potential, and in some cases an economy too exclusively oriented toward seasonal tourism.
With the exceptions of Albania, Libya, and Yugoslavia, all countries in the region have aquaculture objectives and priorities stated in their current National Development Plans. For example, Albania has objectives for increasing fish production as a whole in its current Eighth Five Year Plan for Economic Development. The Plan for Yugoslavia has projected 5 000 t by 1991 through the expansion of hatchery production and cage farming, whilst the Fifth National Plan for Turkey (1984-1989) envisages a 7.7% annual increase in fisheries production and a 20.7% annual increase in fisheries products exports. Aquaculture is expected to rise from its 1986 total of 3 075 t to 15 000 t in 1989, 20 000 t in 1993, and 40 000 t in 2000.
The five EEC countries of the region include aquaculture in plans for internal use, and in 1987 they had to prepare and provide to the Community a 1987-91 Pluriannual Orientation Programme for Aquaculture, to be used as a reference by the EEC Commission in the allocation of subsidies to aquaculture projects. Each national programme established priorities between species, geographic areas for development, and techniques, with general development guidelines and quantified production objectives. For example, the national programme of France highlighted two main objectives, namely (1) adaptation of present aquaculture structures to new production areas (species and products) in response to market requirements, and (2) development of new species with known techniques and where markets exist.
In Portugal the main objectives of the national programme are to utilize fully the natural potential and to increase coastal and inland aquaculture production with the following strategies, namely, to develop and consolidate the sector, to construct productive units, to conduct research on artificial reproduction of some species, to produce trout feed, to increase the national production of trout fry, and to improve fry collection.
In Greece the programme aims at the assimilation of internationally applied cultivation techniques and their adaptation to the specific characteristics of Greece with a simultaneous development of domestic technology; encouragement of private sector and other agencies to take initiatives in investment; simplify the procedures for granting or leasing areas necessary for the construction of aquaculture units by amending the fisheries legislation in force; promotion of State infrastructure projects, of investments in the sector, and of research into cultivation possibilities of species of economic importance other than those already cultivated; and to carrying out reclamation projects in the coastal lagoons for their gradual development through modern semi-intensive or extensive culture.
In the non-EEC countries the timing and general organization of existing national programmes varies with those of the national development plans, as aquaculture is generally considered as a component of fisheries development.
In Turkey the Five Year Plan (1984-89) emphasizes not only aquaculture as an export-oriented activity, but also considerations to be taken in its development (particularly environmental ones).
In Morocco the current National Plan for the period 1986-90 has priorities for aquaculture development favouring investments from the private and public sectors in the general lines of an export-oriented activity.
In Tunisia the recently concluded Sixth Five Year Plan (1982-86) gave an important role to the fishing industry (planned investments of US$ 207 million) with little concern for aquaculture, and then mostly at lagoon exploitation level. Whereas the current Seventh Five Year Plan (1987-91) gives aquaculture more importance and includes the construction of two regional aquaculture centres in the Bizerte and Medenine Governorates, aimed at supporting the development of a strong export-oriented private sector (production of bass, bream, clams, and shrimps).
In Egypt, where the 1984-1987 plan has recently been completed, investments of L.E. 693 million were authorized to the GAFRD to strengthen the aquaculture sector, particularly with regard to small-scale private farmers. In particular, L.E. 25 million were earmarked for the establishment of 20 new tilapia hatcheries.
In Malta the Ministry of Productive Development has given a high priority to fisheries and aquaculture and has established a new Division of Aquaculture.
The situation with regard to aquaculture in freshwater and marine coastal water in many countries is often different with regard to governmental organization. All countries of the Mediterranean region have a Ministry of Agriculture, or of Agriculture and agriculture-related activities. The inclusion of these agriculture-related activities vary from one country to another; for example, in Turkey there is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs, and in Cyprus there is the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Within this wide range of government responsibility, two "basic formulae can be found, namely, either the responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture exclude fisheries (as in France, where there is a Ministry of the Sea), or they include them (as in Greece, where there is a Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture).
When responsibilities for fisheries are included within agriculture, freshwater aquaculture and marine aquaculture fall under the same central administration, even if they have some different regulations. When fisheries are not included within agriculture, inland and marine coastal aquaculture in the country are invariably separated between two very different ministerial departments with widely different regulations, usually leaving marine coastal aquaculture in a complicated and sometimes confused situation in association with traditional capture fisheries.
Even then such a separation does not always result in responsibilities for all freshwater aquaculture being under a single administration. It may happen, as is the case in Cyprus, that the Department of Fisheries within the Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources has responsibility for research and development for both freshwater and marine aquaculture. But the situation is most usually more complicated. For example, in Egypt all aquaculture, except aquaculture research, is under the GAFRD, established within the Ministry of Agriculture in 1983. GAFRD has responsibility for development and conservation of all fisheries resources, including aquaculture, and developing regulations for fish farming. GAFRD participates in a National Commission for the establishment of technical parameters for aquaculture, together with the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (Academy of Science) and other bodies in the Ministry of Irrigation and in the Ministry of the Interior. But the Ministry of Irrigation, and not GAFRD, is responsible for (i) the control of irrigation and drainage waters, which are the main sources of fresh water for pond farms; (ii) for the use of grass carp in irrigation and drainage canals to control aquatic weeds, and (iii) for the production of carp fingerlings to be stocked in rice fields. Also, the policing of water bodies comes under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior. Furthermore, both the Fish Marketing Company (Ministry of Supply) and the separate Governorates have control over pricing and marketing regulations imposed on the farmers.
In Greece all forms of aquaculture are the general responsibility of the Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, but the Ministry of National Economy is responsible for the operation of the main national grant scheme providing investment subsidies to new farms, under Law 1262/82. The Ministries of Culture, Defence, Environment, and Regional Planning and Public Welfare, also play roles in the administrative agreement procedures for new aquaculture projects. At the same time, the local governments (3rd tier) have powers of authority on the exploitation of freshwater springs for both domestic and agricultural uses. Aquaculture research is partly under the Ministry of National Education (for university laboratories) and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Technology. Finally, marine aquaculture also comes under some rules of the Ministry of National Defence.
In France freshwater aquaculture is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, and concerns not only administration and development but also applied research (through the National Institute of Agronomic Research, INRA), demonstration and extension (through the Institute of Small Animal Husbandry, ITAVI, and the Technical Center of Rural Engineering, CEMAGREF). Marine aquaculture, and more precisely traditional oyster and mussel farming in sheltered bays and coastal lagoons, is under the Ministry of the Sea; the responsibilities of which include administration and development, and applied research through the Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER). But there is no clear demarcation in the responsibilities of the two Ministries for some aspects of land-based coastal mariculture or brackishwater aquaculture. Furthermore, other Ministries and regional or local bodies have responsibility for some aspects of project implementation and financing, and must be involved.
After a number of attempts to clarify and simplify responsibility for aquaculture in the 1970s, the Government of France decided in the early 1980s to create in the Ministry of the Sea a National Delegation for Aquaculture. The Delegation would have regional delegates based in regional offices of either Agriculture or Sea, depending on the structure of aquaculture in the region. These delegates are now the basic contact points of aquaculturists and candidate aquaculturists. Their responsiblities are: (i) to hand over any information needed to any administration concerned, (ii) to channel all applications for subsidies and soft loans to the right destinations, and (iii) to convene commissions of representatives of all administrations and institutions concerned to advise them of decisions.
In Israel, both marine and inland fisheries are the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Department of Fisheries. The Department has four sub-divisions, the Marine Fishery Division, the Fisheries Technology Division, the Inland Fishery Division, and the Fish Culture Division. However, the responsibilities for environmental protection of the national aquatic resources by the Ministry of the Interior also involve this organization in the sector.
In the Mediterranean region at the present time, there is no indication that any one country might, in the foreseeable future, recognize the aquaculture sector as important enough to merit a separate Ministry or State Secretary. Furthermore, there is no indication from the several types of government organization for aquaculture in the region that there is a common approach to staffing. Most of the civil servants in their respective organizations enter through normal channels to positions in the civil service, without any specific education or training in aquaculture. In cases where a decision has been made to select a candidate with an aquaculture-related education, it has been predominantly for a candidate with a biology or marine biology degree (see section 4.1).
There are some recent indications that government organizations, and public banks and agencies, are providing or arranging training in aquaculture for their personnel after they have been assigned to positions dealing with aquaculture projects: for example, as already indicated in 4.4 above, the Agricultural Bank of Greece is training 50 employees for technical assessment of aquaculture projects, and 25 for financial assessment.
Three main categories of national legislation, regulations, and policy instruments regarding aquaculture can be identified for countries in the region. These are:
- countries without aquaculture-related legislation at all
- countries with lagoon fisheries and inland aquaculture legislation
- countries with a complete range of aquaculture legislation.
Countries typical of the first category are Libya and Malta, and to a lesser extent Algeria and Morocco where there is an absence of any traditional lagoon fisheries of importance, no substantive aquaculture sector, and a lack of governmental commitment or private involvement in the development of aquaculture. Hence, there has been no pressure from any side to establish legislation to support and control aquaculture, and no policy instruments, such as licenses, permits, taxes, subsidies, and other incentives or controls.
Algeria and Morocco are at the point of leaving this first category. Fifteen years ago both countries had no aquaculture development projects of importance, and were leasing to foreigners the exploitation rights to fisheries in their Mediterranean brackishwater lagoons (Nador in Morocco, and Mellah Lake in Algeria) without thought for establishing laws and regulations for these activities. Morocco then became involved in trout and oyster culture, and now, through the ambitious Marost project in Nador under direct control of the Royal Palace, it is caking the first steps toward marine aquaculture. Other private investors are also reviewing ways to participate in aquaculture and this has compelled a need for controlling legislation, both to support investment and to avoid abuse. In Algeria, the Office National de l'Aquaculture, established in 1986, is now operational and there are statements at governmental level to offer aquaculture opportunities to private investment. Thus, also, there is the need to enact legislation for the same purposes as Morocco.
Countries in the second category, with important coastal lagoon fisheries and/or an established inland aquaculture industry (although not yet an established marine industry) are Greece, Portugal, Tunisia, and Turkey. In these countries the presence of coastal lagoons and estuaries with important small-scale fishing activities, using fences and traps Co control the movement of the fish between semi-closed water bodies and the sea, has led to specific legislation for practices which can be considered as primitive forms of aquaculture. Such practices were strictly the preserve of long-established populations of small-scale fishermen operating either under a governmental body (Tunisia), or grouped in cooperatives (Greece, Portugal, and Turkey). Subsequently, when it was realized that marine aquaculture could be much more than these simple practices, the Governments considered that these same small-scale lagoon fishermen groups should naturally take over the development of the more technical practices of aquaculture, but without anything more than simple demonstrations and assistance from extension services. This approach was also reinforced in some cases, for example, in Greece and Portugal, by the parallel development of small-scale freshwater fish farming, and consequently little or no new legislation was required.
In Greece, and many other countries world-wide, the basic legislation regarding aquaculture development is now 20 years old. Such outdated legislation does not Cake into account essential aspects of modern fish farming, such as the importance of long-term leases for aquaculture (as long-term investments may be needed which cannot be recuperated in the few years of the traditional lagoon exploitation leases) and the importance of adequate legislation regarding concessions on public coastal areas (as investments in mariculture may require that facilities built on leased public land can be mortgaged).
In some countries, such as Portugal, access within a regional economic community (the EEC) has provided automatically a full range of subsidies and incentives (grants). However, existing legislation is sometimes so mixed that many conflicting regulations can be applied by the different administrations which result in prolonged project agreement. At a national conference on aquaculture in Porto in 1987 it was unanimously agreed that legislation was the main factor limiting development in the country.
Finally, countries in the third category are those where aquaculture has already reached the stage of an important and highly diversified activity, and where relevant new legislation was enacted in coordination with development of techniques and increasing production. Countries in this category are France and Italy, and, to a lesser extent, Spain. For example, France began with elaborate legislation for marine and coastal aquaculture but adjusted it in 1983 toward stronger protection of small-scale entrepreneurs, and made it extremely difficult for corporations to have access to aquaculture sites. In 1986 the legislation was revised to facilitate the transfer of aquaculture enterprises from one owner to another, and gave access to corporations for investment.
In Italy the cooperatives are privileged with preferential policy instruments. For example, shellfish cooperatives in the Trieste region were charged only Lit. 5 000 per year (about US$ 3) for a concession in 1986, irrespective of size, but private farmers were charged Lit. 500 per m2. A typical concession may be 1 000 to 15 000 m2 in area. As a result the system was abused frequently, often by cooperatives which built just for show or by entrepreneurs with illegal settlement.
In summary, throughout all the countries of the region aquaculture legislation is a priority which needs considerable attention in order to offer equal opportunities for national investors in different areas within each country, and for international investors within the different countries. At present there does not appear to be much equal opportunity in the region. The larger aquaculture producers (France, Italy, and Spain) continue to improve their national legislation to assist farmers to become more competitive at both national and international levels by improving administrative procedures, and extensively exploiting the EEC subsidies system for aquaculture. Two other countries, Greece and Tunisia, are trying to attract foreign technology and some foreign capital, but in such a way that local capital will not lose control of the sector. This is being done through legislation and incentives which encourage foreign assistance but which also favour national investors. Other countries are maintaining strong nationalistic approaches for sectoral development (such as Israel and Yugoslavia), while others (such as Cyprus and Portugal) appear to be more prepared to follow the approaches of Greece and Tunisia.
Consequently it can be anticipated that aquaculture legislation in the region as a whole will change more rapidly than it has in the past, which will provide opportunities for excellent investment potential. For example, Greece is one country at present which has two different subsidy channels, namely one through the Ministry of Agriculture and the EEC, and the other through the Ministry of National Economy and the national law 1262/82, which can provide non-reimbursable investment grants in a range from 40 to 60% of the physical investment. Furthermore it has a system of preferential investment and operational capital assistance loans established through the Agricultural Bank of Greece, and it has no restrictions on the introduction of technologies and new species. However, it still has a complex legal, social, and administrative structure constraining access to aquaculture sites and aquaculture agreements which is difficult to tackle, even by experienced national investors.
Finally, in some countries, such as France and Italy, there are many environmental regulations which regulate introductions and/or the transfer of species for aquaculture. Even in those countries where there are no such legal restrictions, such as Morocco and Tunisia, government officials and scientists have expressed an interest in producing only native species. However, in many countries the introduction of exotic or non-native species has taken place, and often continues both officially or unofficially. It can be anticipated that for some time to come development of aquaculture in the region will continue to use all species of interest, as it has in the past, and that pathogenic organisms will also be introduced together with the exotic species.
There are no known national trade associations for aquaculture and aquaculture products which operate internationally or regionally in any of the Mediterranean countries. There are several at the local level which have been discussed previously in Section 4.5, such as the association of oyster producers of the Arcachon basin in France, and the controlled label of origin "Pasquina" established for mussels produced by a cooperative of Mattinata in Italy.
There are a few business associations in the region, most of which operate at the local level; for example, the Syndicat Mixte pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture en Pays de Loire (SMIDAP), and the Association pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture en Charente Quest (ADACO), both in France. These are non-profit associations where private entrepreneurs and public agencies at the level of Department or Region can meet, discuss development priorities, and raise public funds Co finance studies, field experiments, technical publications, and provide extension services.
In France the Association pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture (ADA), might be considered a business association at the national level. It is a non-profit association which was started by a few researchers and farmers mostly involved in non-traditional forms of aquaculture. It has progressively expanded to the traditional sector, and now provides its members with services close to those of an established business association.
Producers' associations may at times act as trade and business associations; for example, the two producers' associations in France noted above (the semi-professional committee of oyster culturists, and the syndicate of fish culturists), organize joint advertizing campaigns on television, or in national and regional journals.
Most of the information resources provided for management have dealt with site selection and appropriate technology. Either through national financing and expertise, or through bilateral and international assistance, most areas of the region with aquaculture potential have been surveyed (often repeatedly) to identify sites and to evaluate production potential using established technology.
In France, during the 1979s and early 1980s, IFREMER and other national laboratories and agencies undertook highly detailed surveys of aquaculture sites. They worked at the level of national Departments, using maps with scales of 1:25 000, and at times 1:10 000. All sites with potential were listed so that government administrations in charge of land planning and development could reserve those areas for aquaculture development. Also, in a few places of particular interest, such as the Bay of Brest, detailed environmental and socio-economic zoning studies were performed. This assisted local planners to distribute areas between conflicting industrial sectors and to possible sources of pollution. Competing sectors were typically urban development, tourism, merchant marine, military (navy), heavy and light industry, fisheries, aquaculture, and agriculture.
Besides information on site selection, there has been considerable literature relevant to the countries of the region published about species, production techniques, and economic aspects of aquaculture development in national and international journals, often as reprints of conferences, seminars, and symposia on aquaculture. Also the book, 'Vallicoltura Moderna', is relevant to Mediterranean aquaculture as a whole.
There also exist documents, reports, and reviews which have been written on practically any aquaculture site and any aspect of aquaculture in the Mediterranean-related countries. Many of these published works are available in the library of the Fisheries Department of FAO in Rome. Others are less easily accessible; for example, individual reports which are the property of government agencies responsible for national planning interests, or included with applications for project funding. When prepared for private individuals or companies, these are confidential documents of the parties concerned and the consulting firms. Nonetheless, such information often circulates among a limited number of professionals with regional experience even if not widely distributed, but it is also often too detailed and technical for management officers not highly specialized in aquaculture to make the best use of; and neither aquaculture product traders nor newly established producers always make the effort required to clarify for planners important points regarding project economy or privileged markets for high-value species.
Civil servants, investment bankers, and politicians concerned with aquaculture development still lack general information and a view of aquaculture realities in the region. This situation results at times either in excessive hesitation about a logical and viable project, or in excessive confidence in a project of more doubtful interest. An example is the environmental impact of aquaculture on other activities, particularly the risk of water pollution by aquaculture discharge which may at times be completely forgotten or excessively emphasized.
The ADCP now produces an information newsletter called "Aquaculture Minutes" for decision-makers which responds to some of the needs for executives and administrators, but there is still a great need at the resources management level for the production of more continuously updated information on species and techniques, sites and zoning of activities, prices and markets of aquaculture items, legislation, farm economy, and the socio-economic impact of aquaculture development. Regional reviews are needed to constitute a proper base for solid resources management (such as the ADCP report of 1987 on "The markets for the prime Mediterranean species - sea bass, sea bream, mullets and eel - and their links with investment"). Such activities should be a prime responsibility of the Mediterranean regional aquaculture projects, such as MEDRAP.
The private sector produces a number of leaflets of its own. For example, in U.K., the Aquacultural Insurance Service produces information on risk management and insurance; and Ernst and Whinney produce bulletins on financial investment, planning, taxation, and many other aspects of financial management.
Some assistance to national sector management at the regional level was provided by the UNDP/Government of Italy/FAO MEDRAP project from 1980 to 1987. This was in the form of aquaculture site surveys and recommendations on aquaculture at the national level of the participating countries.
However, most technical assistance projects in the region have taken the form of specific aid to one particular country, either through bilateral or international financing; for example, in Algeria, with assistance from the Government of France, national aquaculture potential (sites, species, techniques, economic aspects) was evaluated to prepare the frame of a National Aquaculture Development Plan; in Egypt assistance from France and USA has been given Co assess the status and potential of aquaculture in the Delta, Sinai, and Red Sea regions, and to prepare Regional Aquaculture Development plans (technical, social, and economic aspects); and in Greece the UNDP/FAO project for the Development of Marine and Inland Aquaculture provided consultancies on aspects of legislation, planning, government organization, education and training, feed production, marketing, product development, economics, engineering, and culture techniques for the main species. FAO has provided technical cooperation assistance to Malta to analyse its aquaculture potential and identify activities.