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Aquaculture industry a driving force of Greek economy

A positive growth outlook of the aquaculture industry globally, a know-how that has developed in the country all these years and a restructuring of companies in the sector were creating conditions capable to attract new investment capital, highlighting Greek aquaculture industry not only as a driving force of the Greek economy but to a leader of activity in primary sector, focusing on innovation and sustainability, Antonis Hahlakis, president of the Federation of Greek Mariculture told media on Friday.

The president of FGM said the Greek mariculture sector established its global presence thanks to the work and ideas of Greek producers without any significant national support or national development strategy. This led the sector to a deep economic crisis and as a result of an economic crisis in Greece and the lack of liquidity production fell significantly from 145,000 tons in 2012 to 115,000 tons in 2015, while production grew in neighboring Turkey at the same time. The Turkish aquaculture sector supported by a national strategy strengthened significantly in the last seven years through state subsidies and procedures facilitating production growth, in contrast with what EU and Greek producers were experiencing, Hahlakis said.

He noted however that despite hard economic conditions, the future of mariculture was extremely favorable in international markets with the World Food Organization estimating demand for sea food to grew by 30 million tons by 2030, a demand that cannot be met by the fishing industry. "It is a big opportunity and the question is whether we will exploit this in Greece or leave others to lead. We have the will, dynamism and the means to play a major role in a collective effort necessary to benefit not only the sector but the country in general," he stressed.