Selonda Aquaculture SA is one of the largest marine fish producers in the Mediterranean and has a history of integrated production since the late 1980s. Regular contributor, Diogo Thomaz, asks Pavlina Pavlidou, Selonda's Hatcheries Director for the past 15 years about the value of integrated fry production.
Q. Can you describe Selonda’s hatchery operations?
A. Selonda operates six hatcheries (five of its own plus one from Dias Aquaculture SA) with a total annual production of 165 million fry. The main species are sea bass and sea bream (44% and 50% respectively), but also a significant percentage (5-6%) of "new species" (Red Porgy – Pagrus major; Sharpsnout seabream – Puntazzo puntazzo; Meager – Argyrosomus re
gius; and Common Dentex – Dentex dentex) are produced every year.
These figures render Selonda a leader in the market representing 40% of Greek production and 16% of the total Mediterranean fry production.
Selonda stocks in its on-growing operation with 110 mil fry annually covering all its internal needs while the rest of its fry production is supplied to customers in Greece and abroad.
Securing fry numbers is a target but the focus of Selonda’s hatcheries sector is to provide these numbers at the highest quality. We want our fry to be the best start for the on growing procedure.
Q. What are the key advantages for Selonda of having its own hatcheries?
A. The essential advantages of Selonda having its own hatcheries are summarized below:
- Availability of fry with specific characteristics: The fry output (apart from the portion assigned to customers) of the hatcheries is programmed to fulfill the exact demands of the on-growing in all aspects i.e. species availability, timing (very important), size of batches, specific MW for specific sites. The target is to enhance the results of the on-growing where the highest production cost occurs.
- Guaranteed standard high quality: The on-growing receives a product with specific quality characteristics and therefore knows what to expect in terms of growth performance and how to handle it to maximize the benefits.
- Continuous improvement through feedback: The Hatcheries Dept. continuously follows the fry performance in the on-growing, spots potential problems and proceeds to corrective actions that can be tested and followed as well. The system "feeds" itself towards a common beneficial direction.
- Low cost high quality fry: Last but not least is the fry cost. The on-growing receives high quality fry at the production cost and therefore the on-growing cost is reduced significantly.
Q. Can you discuss key issues about the coordination between hatcheries and on-growing? Is it just a matter of logistics and good communication?
A. Good communication, collaboration and logistics are crucial for the coordination between hatcheries and on-growing but in fact they are just practical prerequisites.
What counts in such an operation is always to have the big picture in mind, to realize that hatcheries and on-growing are just stages of the same uninterrupted procedure, where the most important issue is to continually preserve and enhance fish health and robustness and therefore growth.
In Selonda the results of the Hatcheries' Dept are not assessed at the door of the hatcheries, but at that of the packing station. Of course, it is very important to have the scientific knowledge and the experience to evaluate problematic areas, to identify the causes and to spot the exact parameter or stage of the chain that needs improvement.
Talking further with Pavlina she stressed the importance of the many years of collaboration between hatcheries and on-growing farms at Selonda that lead to a good coordination between the needs of growout and the quality of the fry supplied by the company’s hatcheries. It is the value of this experience and knowledge that can make an integrated company much more than the sum of its parts.