Greek Ministry of Environment approves construction of new shrimp production unit on land

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The Greek Ministry of Environment gave a few days ago the go-ahead to the architectural study for the project ‘Construction of a land-based shrimp aquaculture unit’, which is planned to be located in the outer management area of the municipality of Kea, in the Agia Marina area (in the locality of Paouras) of the Kea-Kythnos Regional Unit, and which is leased by the company Iris Aquaculture IKE. The Commonwealth of Ioulida, where the investment planning area is located, unanimously expressed its opposition to the specific investment.

This project concerns the construction of a land-based shrimp aquaculture plant on a property located on a plot of land with a total area of 37,116.66 m2 in the above-planned area of the municipality of Kea, in the locality Agia Marina (or Paouras) of the Kea-Kythnos Regional Unit.

According to information gathered by Businessnews.gr, the aquaculture facility will be organized in the production and breeding of shrimp, as well as its storage, processing and water reuse. Also included are the packaging and support departments, such as the laboratory where appropriate controls are carried out, laboratory offices, staff rest areas, etc.).

However, two years ago, namely in May 2020, the Commonwealth of Ioulida, where the investment planning area is located, had unanimously opposed the specific investment, stressing that “the development and operation of such a large area and facilities in a prominent location from the main road, leading to the tourist areas of western Kea disrupts and destroys the natural landscape.

For this reason, it was considered that the project could damage the tourism market in the area, in addition to “degrading adjacent and adjoining plots of land”. The Community of Municipalities also considered it excessive and “almost dangerous” to transport and store very large quantities of seawater over such a long distance inland.

In addition, they stressed that pumping from possible on-site wells or transporting fresh water from the island’s limited aquifer was not feasible for the quantities of water needed for the productive operation of the plant.

“In light of the information presented and our top priority being the protection of our island from potential environmental degradation, we recommend a negative opinion on this study,” they ruled.

Total production of farmed aquaculture species

On the other hand, and according to the preliminary results of the aquaculture survey conducted by ELSTAT, the total production and value of farmed aquaculture species increased in Greece by 3.4% and 10.0% respectively in 2020 compared to 2019. Both the quantity and value of fish farming also increased, while there was a decrease in the farming of shellfish, aquatic plants – algae, as well as in egg farming.

Specifically, in 2020 the total production amounted to 133,168.2 tons with a total value of 558,808.1 thousand euros, compared to 128,783.7 tons with a total value of 508,141.2 thousand euros in 2019.

In more detail, the evolution of the quantity and value of farmed fish species increased by 7.6% and 10.8%, respectively, in 2020 compared to 2019. Specifically, 112,914.7 tons with a total value of 550,635.3 thousand euros were cultivated in 2020, compared to 104,944 tons with a total value of 497,114.2 thousand euros in 2019.

In crustaceans and mollusks, the quantity and value decreased by 15.1% and 29.0%, respectively, in 2020 compared to 2019.

Specifically, 20,119.9 tons with a total value of €6,817.0 thousand were cultivated in 2020 compared to 23,695.7 tons with a total value of €9,597.5 thousand in 2019. Regarding the evolution of annual employment in the aquaculture sector, the report notes that in the overall total, the number of wage earners presented an increase of 1.5% in 2020 compared to 2019. Specifically, in 2020 the overall total number of wage earners amounted to 4,236 compared to 4,173 wage earners in 2019

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