HEM site visit - Corfu Sea Farm

HEM site visit - Corfu Sea Farm The group of HEM attendees on their way to the Corfu Sea Farm. Photo: Bonnie Waycott

On the last day of the High Energy Mariculture 2018 conference in Corfu, attendees were given a unique opportunity to see an offshore farm and packaging plant for themselves at Corfu Sea Farm in Kassiopi, northeast Corfu.

The first call was the open ocean farm where European sea bass and gilthead sea bream are reared. The production process varies between 15 and 48 months depending on the market size required and the species of fish. Thanks to its location in the sheltered Bay of Vathi and proximity to the open ocean, the farm is well protected with good oxygen levels (around 5 - 10ppm), fairly strong currents, low temperatures, deep depths (41m) and fresh water.

540 tonnes of sea bass and sea bream are sold each year to countries including Italy, France, the USA, Canada, UK and Albania. The fish are reared on a diet of fishmeal and fish oil, stocked at densities of 7 - 15 kilos per cubic metre and harvested three times a week with the average size of a one-day harvest around 4 to 5 tonnes. Visitors were alsogiven the opportunity to look over the packaging plant and given a brief overview of sorting areas, ice storage facilities, storage boxes, fridges and plans to increase production capacity through further expansion.

Shifting aquaculture offshore appears to tick all the right boxes, but future sustainable production at sea can only be contemplated if governments, scientists and industries continue to work together.

"I predict that innovative machines and specialised people are a worldwide, secure solution to low costs and good fish health in offshore farming," said Aquavet's Evangelos Kakavoulis.

"We are seeing promising results but there are still some aspects, such as fish health management and handling, that need to be addressed. Aquaculture can make Greece flourish. We just have to do our best."

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