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Croatia: Workshop to promote exports of farmed marine fish
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 10:35

 The FAO, Eurofish and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of Croatia co-organized the second national workshop in Croatia

under the Technical Cooperation Program. While the first Croatian workshop was dedicated to freshwater aquaculture, this three-day workshop ”Market requirements for the aquaculture industry in Croatia” was held on 8-10 May in Zadar, a region known for marine aquaculture.Croatia workshop participants

Marine aquaculture production amounted to nearly 10,792 tonnes of fish in 2010, of which whitefish output with predominantly seabass and seabream reached 5,200 tonnes. The major volume of the production is sold on the domestic market and exported abroad mostly to Italy. Market issues continue to be the major dilemma for the seabass and seabream sector in Europe, therefore the topics discussed at the workshop included communication and marketing, new products and new markets, the role of supermarkets in the distribution of fresh fish, and Croatian fish consumers’ preferences. General requirements for export of fishery products to the EU, labeling, certification and traceability, and best practices in bass and bream aquaculture were also issues that were presented. The role of producer organisations was one of the main topics during the workshop and it generated a lively discussion among participants.The presentations were made by the following international speakers: Mr. Andrea di Biase (International consultant), Ms. Marie Christine Monfort (International consultant), Ms. Aina Afanasjeva (Eurofish) and Ekaterina Tribilustova (Eurofish). The local speakers were Ms. Vlasta Franicevic (National Project Coordinator) and Mr. Lav Bavcevic (Croatian Chamber of Agriculture). The workshop was attended by 23 participants including the organisers, representatives of fish farms, processing companies, universities, and local government and administration.

The third day of the workshop was devoted to a visit to Cromaris, the leading Croatian company specialized in aquaculture farming of seabass and seabream as well as farming of shellfish.

Cromaris was established in 2009 following the merger of the pioneers of the Croatian and European aquaculture: Cenmar, Marimirna and Istra aquaculture. The delegation visited Cromaris' hatchery, which has an annual Cromaris hatchery 1production of more than 20 million juveniles. The hatchery allows Cromaris to control the entire farming process, which may take more than two years. Experts in the hatchery ensure that the juveniles grow under stress-free conditions, which is a key factor for obtaining a quality product. Cromaris has four fish farms, which are set-up on fully protected sites in the cleanest sea of the Mediterranean. Two of the farms – Lim and Budava – are located in Istria in the Northern Adriatic, and the other two – Košara and lamjaan – are in the waters of Zadar in the Central Adriatic. From these locations, seabass and seabream are shipped daily to the Croatian market and abroad. More than half of Croamris' production is marketed internationally. The company is currently present in Italy, Slovenia, Poland, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary. The target markets for the expansion of the sales are France, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. In addition to the assortment of fresh seabass and seabream, Cromaris offers gutted fish, smoked and marinated seabass and seabream deli fillets as an exclusive range of first class delicacies, as Mediterranean equivalent to the Norwegian smoked salmon and the Japanese sushi. Thanks to its investments Cromaris is set to become one of the most technologically advanced companies farming seabass and seabream. The company’s plan is to increase sales to 5,000 tonnes by 2015.         

Marine aquaculture in the country is still far from its natural potential. Croatia is planning to authorise new farms and to support the future development of existing farms by encouraging increased production, product diversification, and higher sanitary standards.