Turkey is now the largest fish producing nation in the Mediterranean Basin surpassing Greece and the second largest producer of fish in Europe after Norway. This definitely represents a great opportunity for Norwegian equipment and service suppliers for fish farms.
Aquaculture has been the second fastest growing industry in Turkey just after construction the last few years. The country has both fresh water fish farming for rainbow trout and in-sea aquaculture farms for sea bass and sea bream. In each category more than 85% of the production is exported, mainly to Europe.
The sea-based farms with offshore cages are the main market for Norwegian aquaculture equipment and service companies as the farms have been growing to large scale and can now invest in better equipment. The farms in the seas surrounding Turkey are now using Norwegian-style barges and equipment. Some of the Norwegian equipment/services companies are already very active in the Turkish Market. Turkish fish farms, in general, are taking Norwegian farms as cases to take example from.
The largest producer in the Mediterranean
After a recent visit to Turkish fish farming companies in Bodrum and Izmir with the assistance of Innovation Norway Istanbul, Export Sales Manager and shareholder of the Norwegian company Lift Up AS, Jørgin Gunnarsson comments,
“We have been following the Turkish aquaculture industry for the last 10 – 15 years . Now the fish farming companies have grown to a large enough scale and they are profiting well enough that they are ready to invest in more sophisticated equipment that we have in Norway. We feel that it is the right time to go in to the Turkish Market now for the companies that have not done so yet.”
The Norwegian fish vaccine company Pharmaq has a majority of the vaccine market share in Turkey. Pharmaq’s country manager for Turkey, Onur Solak says,
“Fish price is not the only tool that Turkish fish producers are competing with anymore. Turkish fish farms are aware that quality of the fish is essential for the western markets and Turkish producers are using top of the line tools/equipment throughout the production in this respect. This for example brings mutual success to both farmers and Pharmaq. Turkish farmers have proven product quality over and over again in the recent years where industry has achieved an incremental increase in volumes becoming the largest producer in the Mediterranean.”
Turkey has produced 139 thousand tons of fish in 2015 in offshore sea cages. 127 thousand ton of this is sea bass and sea bream. Another 101.5 thousand tons of fish is produced in fresh water, mainly in close circuit pools, but also in fresh water reservoirs in cages. 100 tons of this is rainbow trout production.
The cage sizes have been growing in Turkey, especially the last few years. They are getting larger both in diameter and depth. Therefore, farms are more eager to invest in more sophisticated equipment compared to 7 – 10 years ago when cages were closer to shore, smaller in size and barges did not exist.
The fish is mainly harvested in plate size in Turkey, which is mostly about 300 – 400 gr. Some of it is fileted and some is sold/exported as a whole fish. In recent years fish producers have started exporting some of the fileted fish as frozen as well. Until recently all fish was exported/sold as fresh fish.
An opportunity for Norwegian companies
This represents a great opportunity for Norwegian companies that have been providing the industry in Norway with equipment and services. There is a great potential for you in Turkey if you can assist the fish farms to do better and more profitable business.
For interested Norwegian companies we recommend attending the Future Fish Exhibition in Izmir, Turkey which takes place every other year. Innovation Norway Istanbul Office organized a Norwegian Pavilion in the 2016 edition. Next will take place in 2018.
For further information about the Turkish aquaculture industry and opportunities please contact:
Caglar Erdogan, Senior Market Advisor
Innovation Norway, Istanbul Office in Turkey
Phone: +90 212 284 4362