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Fish markets in Egypt: challenges and obstacles that threaten the vital industry - Daily News Egypt

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Fish markets in Egypt: challenges and obstacles that threaten the vital industry

Egypt’s total fish production reached 1.53m tonnes in 2015, according to CAPMAS, yet the numbers are not quite accurate


In its report about fish production in Egypt, which was issued on 20 February, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) published the “2017 Annual Bulletin of Fish Production Statistics for 2015.”

The study showed that Egypt’s total fish production reached 1.53m tonnes in 2015, compared to 1.48m tonnes in 2014—an increase of 2.5%—due to a greater output of fish farms and rice fields.

According to CAPMAS, the total production of fish farms and rice fields ranked first, with 1.5m tonnes, followed by lake production with 171,500 tonnes, marine waters with 102,900 tonnes, and finally fresh water production with 69,700 tonnes.

The report added that the production of bony fish held the first place of total fish production at 1.5m tonnes (97.0%), crustaceans amounted to 18,600 tonnes (1.2%), other varieties of fish totalled 17,700 tonnes (1.2%), lung fish production recorded 5,900 tonnes (0.4%), and cartilaginous fish and molluscs reached 3,000 tonnes (0.2%).

Ahmed El-Said, who runs fish production farms, said that the governmental production of fish is not satisfying at all, adding that the new state-owned farms might increase the production of fish in Egypt if the government knows how to run it in a better way.

Ahmed El-Said, who runs fish production farms, said that the governmental production of fish is not satisfying at all, adding that the new state-owned farms might increase the production of fish in Egypt if the government knows how to run it in a better way. (Photo Handout to DNE)
Ahmed El-Said, who runs fish production farms, said that the governmental production of fish is not satisfying at all, adding that the new state-owned farms might increase the production of fish in Egypt if the government knows how to run it in a better way.
(Photo Handout to DNE)

The government’s role

He believes that if the government wants to increase fish outputs from the sea, it should provide more boats with refrigerators that preserve the fish while the boat is at sea, adding that if it wants to increase production from fish farms, it must establish good places for farms and provide cheaper feed that would increase the amount of produced fish at the end of the process, while reducing its price at the same time.

Regarding fish output from Egypt’s lakes, he stated that the government has to implement more cleaning processes and impose rules that prevent overfishing in order to raise Egypt’s production from lakes, adding that in past periods, the government did not make any effort to properly organise fishing from lakes.

He explained that the governmental production of fish is not good, because they are run by government employees, who—at the end of the day—do not care about the amount of production since their figures are not being controlled.

El-Said furthermore mentioned that the feed prices are currently high due to the flotation, which raised the price by almost 50%, which made it reach an average of EGP 8,000 per tonne of feed, which is enough to produce around 500-700kg of fish.

He stated that the government needs to help farmers to grow more feeding locally, including soy beans and corn, in order to reduce the amount of imports, hoping that would lead to cheaper prices of feed.

He explained that the imported components of the fish industry are the main determinant for the Egyptian market, since even the local suppliers raised their prices after flotation, taking advantage of the increase of prices of imported components.

On a different note, Koudijs Kapo Feed Company, which specialises in locally producing fish and animal feed, established a new feed factory in February, according to Alaa Kamar, a member of the company’s board of directors.

Kamar told Daily News Egypt that the cost of the company’s new factory in Borg El-Arab City is EGP 120m. Most of the costs was self-financed, while EGP 30m was financed by the Commercial International Bank (CIB), he noted.

He added that the new factory’s maximum production capacity is 150,000 tonnes annually, which is destined for the local market.

Kamar said that 15% of the components were local, while 85% were imported.

He believes that fish feed sales will grow by 10-12% during 2017, because of the current expansion in fish farming.

It is worth noting that Koudijs Kapo Feed was originally established by an Egyptian-Dutch partnership, with a 15,000sqm factory.

Kamar added that the poultry sector is being negatively affected by the spread of infections and diseases, which has become a problem due to the farms’ standard procedure of waste disposal.

He furthermore believes that the size of the Egyptian fish market will increase in the coming months.

The Egyptian market and the fishermen

Additionally, El-Said also believes that the market will get better in 2018, adding that the demand of fish is increasing due to the hikes in other protein sources’ prices, namely meat and chicken. Investors are also expanding their farms to increase the production in order to meet the demand, he noted.

However, the former Minister of Agriculture, Essam Fayed, announced in 2016 that total fish production stands at 1,481,882 tonnes annually, pointing out that the ministry has a plan to develop fisheries in Egypt by increasing fish production, as to meet the domestic consumption and compensate for the shortage of meat.

Fayed added in a press statement that this plan relies on the expansion of intensive aquaculture and marine hatchery, noting that the ministry has already established a fish hatchery at kilometre 21 of the Cairo-Alexandria-Matrouh road, financed by an Italian grant.

He continued, stating that another fish hatchery was created on the coast of Bardawil Lake for high-value fish at a cost of EGP 31m—in addition to 140 sea cages in Mariout Valley to produce 700 tonnes of fish.

Moreover, in order to increase the production, a fish farm was established in the New Valley governorate on an area of ​​25 feddans (25.95 acres)—using fresh water from wells—while another fish farm in South Sinai was built on an area of ​​three feddans (3.114 acres) for the production of tilapia. According to Fayed, Egypt ranks first in Africa and the Middle East in aquaculture for the production of tilapia.

El-Said believes that the government has no real account of the total production in Egypt, explaining that it is not possible for the government to count the true amount of production for many reasons.

He explained that the government cannot usually reach the right amounts of fish with fishers in order to know the accurate production of Egypt.

“95% of the fish farms are not legalized, and the government does not know anything about them,” El-Said noted.

The fishermen seem to be having a hard time under the current circumstances as well, due to the high prices of spare parts and the lower amounts of fish they catch.

A fisher in Port Said, Mohamed Sallam, said that his outdated boat is not enabling him to fish the same amounts that he used to get before.

He explained that the tools he uses in trawling have doubled in price, so he cannot afford to fix them currently.

He also stated that the government does not help the fishermen with anything, adding that if one of the fishers was injured, he would not have the money to afford treatment at the hospital; and the syndicate also does not provide enough aid to them either.

He stated that the government and the syndicate must understand how important the fishermen are, adding that they both have to cooperate to provide health insurance for the fishermen and for the people who provide cheap food to Egyptians. Also he called upon them to provide cheaper spare parts to help fishermen fix their boats and keep them working.

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https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/16/fish-markets-egypt-challenges-obstacles-threaten-vital-industry/
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