ECONOMY

Aquaculture’s agenda for 2009 is deep in mergers

Moves toward further consolidation in Greece’s fragmented aquaculture industry are expected to continue in 2009, resulting in a sharp drop in the number of players in the sector, said Aristides Belles, chairman of Nireus, yesterday. «At the end of 2009, there will be no more than 50 companies out of the current 106,» said Belles, who is in charge of Greece’s largest aquaculture company. «By 2010, there will be a drop in production.» Greece is the largest producer of Mediterranean aquaculture products, followed by Turkey and Spain. In 2008, Greece produced more than 77,000 tons of sea bream and 52,000 tons of sea bass, according to industry data. Nireus, whose shares are listed on the Athens bourse, is 24 percent-owned by foreign institutional investors.