Mediterranean marine aquaculture is on the way
to becoming a myth, if it is not already.
We have recently held the first Workshop of the
MedAID-EU Project, where the results of the first year of work have been
presented, an evaluation of the producing sector and an analysis of the main
competitiveness indicators. Our colleagues from the University of Cantabria, in
their presentation, indicated that a significant change is taking place in the
sector, and point out that there is a trend towards business concentration, but
not any concentration, but aimed at having fewer and fewer companies and larger.
These sectoral changes have occurred previously
(2004 and 2011 are the most significant) but always within an order of
magnitude clearly Mediterranean and with a proprietary and corporate structure
that we could also define as Mediterranean or rather European.
Selonda, Nireus and Andromeda (three large
Greek companies) have just come together with the aim of creating a joint
venture to facilitate its acquisition by two investment firms, Amerra (US) and
(EUA). The committee was concerned that this would affect competition, and has
approved this joint venture with the inclusion of measures that safeguard and
therefore have no impact on competition. The real momentum comes from
Andromeda, which already made clear one year ago its goal of becoming a world
leader in the aquaculture sector. Attention, it did not say exclusively
Right now, I am not aware of what this union
implies. Can it be that more than 75,000 tons and almost 400 million juveniles? Maybe 75% of European production? What is clear is that, if materialized, any previous analysis,
including the one we are carrying out within the MedAID project, will be
distorted by a reality that strives to be much faster than any analysis
methodology. The aquaculture sector of the Mediterranean has its rules, and its
competitiveness begins to be conditioned by other factors, not because it is
not necessary to improve each and every one of the identified points, but
because the resources and the strategic commitment of these companies change
the rules of the game. Leadership is assured for a while. Andromeda to be close
to his goal of becoming one of the international leaders.
Both Amerra and Mubadala are large venture
capital companies that have decided to enter with unusual strength in
aquaculture. As they say, their presence in the agribusiness sector is
strategic, and aquaculture is one of the most promising sub-sectors. In
addition, they say how they will be able to boost productivity improvements and
accelerate growth, by deploying new technologies.
Seeing who they are and what
they have behind them, their partnership, it is easy to reach the conclusion
that there are many possibilities that it will happen that, in this cycle,
there will be few and very large companies. It is more than possible that the
Mediterranean marine aquaculture rebound in terms of productivity and
competitiveness, and surely there will be a phenomenon of demand adjustment
that will make it possible to manage the sale price, the question is whether
the rest of the sector, medium and small companies, are able to meet these
It seems that the small fish has eaten two large fish.