Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

TUR­KEY’S aqua­cul­ture ex­ports in 2018 surged by 13 per­cent year-on-year, of­fi­cial data showed Fri­day. Seafood ex­ports, led by sea bass, sea bream and trout, to­taled $958 mil­lion last year, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled from the Aegean Ex­porters’ As­so­ci­a­tion (EİB). The ex­port vol­ume of seafood, on the other hand, in­creased to 177,659 tons in quan­tity. Tur­key reached 156,580 tons in aqua­cul­ture ex­ports in 2017, amount­ing to $851 mil­lion.

THE Nether­lands led the way in Tur­key’s aqua­cul­ture ex­ports last year with $148 mil­lion, fol­lowed by Italy with $101 mil­lion and Rus­sia with $68 mil­lion.

Mean­while, the coun­try’s aqua­cul­ture ex­ports to South Ko­rea climbed by 114 per­cent to $20.5 mil­lion com­pared to last year.

Turk­ish Fish­ery and An­i­mal Prod­ucts Sec­tor Board Chair­man Si­nan Kızıl­tan said they could not reach the $1 bil­lion tar­get due to the de­crease in prices in the last three months of 2018.

In­di­cat­ing that aqua­cul­ture ex­ports are spear­headed by sea bass, Kızıl­tan said they are cur­rently sell­ing the prod­uct to 80 coun­tries. “We ex­ist in the most chal­leng­ing coun­tries in the world. Our prod­ucts are very pop­u­lar. Not even a sin­gle fish has [been] re­turned for any rea­son,” he added.

He pointed out that the fish grown in the coun­try are a higher-value prod­uct than the salmon pro­duced in Nor­way ac­cord­ing to the tests con­ducted by in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tions.

Not­ing the Turk­ish fish has proven it­self in the ex­port mar­ket, Kızıl­tan stressed they are far ahead of their clos­est ri­vals such as Greece and Italy. Kızıl­tan re­called they are cur­rently ex­port­ing to 87 coun­tries, say­ing 95 per­cent of their ex­ports to the United States is com­posed of sea bass. “We have not been able to ha­bit­u­ate them to bream and trout yet, but we are work­ing on it,” he con­tin­ued. “All the great res­tau­rants in the most fa­mous states have sea bass. We grow 20 per­cent ev­ery year in the U.S. mar­ket. We have a fa­vor­able po­si­tion in Rus­sia in terms of sea bream. Our ex­ports to Rus­sia has in­creased three­fold in the last 10 years.”

Kızıl­tan stressed they aim to ex­port to 100 coun­tries in the com­ing year, ex­plain­ing they have de­vel­oped new species in this re­gard. “For ex­am­ple, sea bass pro­duc­tion has reached 5,000 tons so far. We will grow slowly. Salmon pro­duc­tion in the Black Sea has also in­creased in re­cent years. We believe that we will en­ter 100 coun­tries with these prod­ucts,” he said. “Mean­while, we need to in­crease fish con­sump­tion in our coun­try. While the fish con­sump­tion in Eu­rope is 24 kilo­grams per per­son, un­for­tu­nately it is about 5 kilo­grams in Tur­key.”

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