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Composition of the Greek seafood sector
Greek fishing companies generated EUR 126 million in landings income in 2015. Processing companies generated a further EUR 222 million in production revenue in 2016.
Greece maintained a positive trade balance in fish products of EUR 228 million in 2016. The country exported fish products worth EUR 670 million. More than 90% of fish and fish product exports were to EU countries. The main export destinations were Italy (40%), Spain (13%) and the Netherlands (10%).
57% of Greece’s EUR 442 fish imports were from other EU countries. Its main import partners were Spain (14%), the Netherlands (13%), and Italy (9%).
Greece has a large fishing fleet. In 2017, there were 14,985 registered fishing vessels. These were owned by 12,594 enterprises. In 2015, 1,368 enterprises – 11% of all fishing enterprises – operated more than one vessel. 93% of all active vessels are small-scale (STECF 2018).
The fish catching segment in Greece employed 23,431 FTE, approximately 0.7% of the workforce. The average vessel tonnage of 5 GT indicates that the fishing segment is largely small-scale.
The fish processing segment employed a far smaller workforce of 222 FTE. This, in addition to the low level of value adding through processing mentioned above, indicates that a large proportion of the landed fish is sold fresh.
83% of the fish and fish products that enter the market in Greece are sold as fresh. Canned (5%), frozen (8%) and dried/smoked/salted fish (4%) account for much smaller proportions of fish products sold in Greece. 77% of all fish and fish products sold in Greece are sold through retail, the remainder is sold in the food service industry. Three quarters of both fresh and frozen fish are sold in retail (see Figure 56). Canned and dried/smoked/salted products are rarely sold in food service, more than 90% of each category is sold through retail outlets.
More than three quarters of all fresh fish in Greece is sold unbranded (see Table 41). Both canned and frozen fish and fish products are generally sold as branded. Notably, 31% of dried/smoked/salted fish is sold as artisanal products, the remainder is sold as branded (also 31%), unbranded (29%) or retailer own label (9%).
A key brand for fresh fish in Greece is Nireus Fisheries with a market share of approximately 30% of the fresh segment (FFT, 2018). Selonda, which is engaged in aquaculture of sea bream and sea bass, holds a share of around 20% in the Greek fresh fish segment. Iglo (part of Nomad (UK)) is the market leader in the frozen fish segment with a market share of around 28% in Greece, while Kallimanis accounts for around 23% of the frozen segment. In the canned segment, the Trata and Flokos brands of Konva hold around 26% of the market, while the brands of Bolton Hellas (part of Bolton Group (Netherlands)) account for approximately 20%. Konva also plays an important role in the dried/smoked/salted segment in Greece, with a market share of around 25% (FFT, 2018, Selonda, n.d.).
Greece has one producer organisation – Ostria AE (European Commission, 2017) which is for aquaculture companies only. In Greece there are no producer organisations for fishermen, but unions of fishermen that set up market conditions.
The Panhelllenic Union of Middle Range Fisheries Ship Owners or Pan-Hellenic Association of Coastal Fishing Companions (both names are used on the organisation’s website) represents the owners of Mesa Fisheries (Mechanized and Purse) (Pan-Hellenic Association of Coastal Fishing Companions, n.d.). The small-scale (coastal) fishers do not have such an organisation. They are “divided into different ‘clans’, making them more vulnerable to competitors and policy changes” (Anonymous A). There is an unofficial association for these small-scale fishers called Pan-Hellenic Association of Coastal Professional Fishing Vessels (Panepes) (Panepes, n.d.).
The fishing sector in Greece is split in two categories: medium sized fishing (trawlers and purse seiners) and small-scale fishing (vessels of less than 12 metres). There are no big fishing companies in Greece, i.e. there are no companies that own or operate a large number of fishing vessels. Trawlers and purse seiners are usually manned by the owners. The owners are usually the captains, whereas the crew are mainly immigrants.
Aquaculture companies are a big player in the Greek market. But they have nothing to do with the fishing in Greece, at least not in a direct way (Anonymous A).
In Greece it seems to be more common that processing and exporting companies work closely together with fishermen, from whom they buy the fish directly. Two of such companies are Cosmofish and Afentoulis.
Cosmofish is a company that is “active at all stages of the fisheries supply: fishing, sorting, preservation and distribution.” They also provide the industry with fishing equipment. The company is established by two families, the Roussis family and the Bulgaris family. The Roussis family brought two vessels into the company. The company cooperates with more than 50 fishermen, who have their own vessels (Cosmofish, 2018). The two vessels that were brought to the company are not owned by the company.
Cosmofish is owned by Nikolaos Voulgaris. It has no subsidiaries. Cosmofish is vertically integrated.
The company Afentoulis has close ties with fishermen. The company buys the fish from around 100 fishermen and then processes, markets and exports the fish (Afentoulis, 2012).
Triton Seafood is part of the Anastassakis Group of Companies.
Triton Seafood is a fishing company with three vessels. They fish on species like Red mullet, red snapper, pagre, white grouper and sole.
There is little evidence of formal integration in the fishing sector in Greece. There are no large fishing companies, but only small and medium sized fishing vessels operated by the, usually, Greek captain and sometimes a (foreign) crew.
However, there is informal integration taking place, in that sense that processing and exporting companies have close ties with the fishing vessels. Companies like Cosmofish and Afentoulis do not actually have many boats of themselves but they have close ties with many small-scale fishermen.