Turkey’s aquaculture production and export of fish produce over the past decade has rocketed, said Chairman of the Mediterranean Fishery Products Exporters’ Union Alican Yamanyılmaz. Aquaculture exports have grown from USD 40 million to USD 400 million over that period, with production soaring from 400,000 tonnes to 1 million tonnes.
While in the past Turkey was not able to compete within the top 10 exporting countries in the European Union (EU), Turkey is now running for the top position. The country even exports other non-farmed products, Yamanyılmaz commented.
“For example, even though the octopus is very delicious, it is not consumed. We export a great proportion of octopus we obtain from our seas. We export around 100 tonnes of octopus annually,” he elaborated, Hürriyet Daily News reports.
Turkey sells its fish produce to numerous countries, such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Italy, Greece and Japan.
“Even though Greece and Italy are producers, they buy fish from Turkey,” Yamanyılmaz specified.
The Exporters’ Union set up a promotion group which has run significant research since 2008, he went on.
“As the promotion group, we are allocated 1 million Turkish Liras for our annual budget. We use this budget to promote Turkey’s fish produce, mainly at international fairs,” Yamanyılmaz told.
The promotion group also uses its funds to create and publish booklets in languages including Russian, English and Arabic, and doles them out throughout the EU and the Middle East.
And separately from conducting promotion in other countries, the group is making efforts to increase the consumption of fish in the national market as well.
“For this end, we are set to enter television commercials. Fish consumption culture in Turkey is lacking, except some specific regions,” Yamanyılmaz said.
“With our studies, we aim to increase the current 8 kg of fish consumption per capita to at least 10 kg in the first phase of promotion,” he added.
Turkey’s active aquaculture farms cover an area spreading over more than 26 million ha – almost as big as the country’s agricultural areas and more expansive than its forested areas.
By Natalia Real