Greece is a country with a large tradition in quality fishery. With a 4,000-kilometre coastline around the mainland, plus a further 11,000 kilometres around the Greek islands, Greece offers excellent conditions for fishery operations: the waters around Greece are home to about 250 marine creatures.
In testimonies found in manuscripts dating from the fifth century, it has been proved that the Greeks were enjoying fishery and included them in their quality dishes. In Homer’s texts fishery is mentioned as quality food, while Plutarch cites pieces of advice for the fishermen in his own texts.
Today, the vast variety of Greek fishery and their premium quality reinforces their global recognition. Fishery fans around the globe include Greek Fishery within their choices and honor them with their preference. Although modern technology has changed fishing industry worldwide, the majority of Greek coastal fishermen still fish with the traditional methods, using their five to six metre boats, which constitute 90% of the total fleet.
The Greek sea fishery landsaround 130,000-160,000 tonnes of fish and seafood every year. About 90% of this total are caught in the Aegean Sea. The most important species are sardine, anchovy, seabream, seabass and Mediterranean mussels. The catch taken from the Ionian Sea to the west of Greece mainly consists of European anchovies, pilchards and picarels, whereas in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions several thousand tonnes of swordfish, long-finned tuna (albacore) and frigate tuna are caught. The Greek inland freshwater fisheries catchabout 20,000-30,000 t. per year. In volume terms, anchovy and Mediterranean mussels, are the main species, followed by sardine. The remainder of the catch consists of a broad spectrum of marine fishes.
In the meantime, aquaculture supplies more than one third of Greek fish production. With an annual growth rate of about 10% aquaculture is one of Greece’s fastest-growing industrial sectors. The industry’s success is partly based on the natural conditions which the country has to offer: a mild climate, clean water, about 3.000 islands, and the long coastline. The most important farmed species are seabream, seabass and – although in smaller quantities – rainbow trout, European eel and carp. In the meantime, Greece produces 60% of the seabass and seabream farmed in the European Union and nearly half of worldwide production. Three quarters of production is exported to EU member states. The most important European markets for seabass and seabream are Spain, France, Greece it self, Turkey and Portugal. Demand is also growing in Central and Northern Europe. The most important country for Greek fish in general is Italy, but demand is also growing in Germany, France, Great Britain and Spain.
Average per capita consumption of fish in Greece is around 27 kg, putting Greece on about the same high level as Italy, Denmark and Canada.
Greece mainly exports live, fresh and chilled fish and seafood, less so processed products. Mussels (Mytilus spp, Perna spp) are at the top of the list of marine export productIn second place is seabream (Dentex dentex, Pagellus spp), fresh or chilled and in third place is seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), fresh or chilled.
The fish canning sector export more than 1,600 t of produce, mainly mussels and molluscs every yearmost of them to France, Albania, Germany and Italy. In the frozen fish export sector it was sardine (Sardina pilchardus) which dominatesmainly going to Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the category ‘dried, salted, in brine or smoked seafood’ Greece mainly exports anchovies. With regard to the main export products, seabass and seabream, Greece’s export capacity is still not exhausted.