Haluk Tuncer, the chairman of the company’s board of directors, told local business daily Dünya that the company is already present in a number of foreign markets, including Italy, the US, Russia, and various countries in the Middle East.
“We have been selling our fish in the Turkish stores of the Metro retail chain, and last year, we launched the sales of our fish under the Akvatur brand in Italian Metro stores,” Tuncer said.
In 2016, the Izmir-based company sold 650 tonnes of various fish, and this year, Akvatur aims to further increase its output, according to its chairman. The Turkish firm’s product range includes sea bream and sea bass, and it operates in Western Turkey.
“We are aiming to produce 1,000 tonnes this year, and we will export between 25% and 30% of this,” Tuncer said.
Akvatur’s expansion plans are related to the wider efforts by the country’s government and fish and seafood industry to double the sector’s production from 250,000 tonnes in 2015 to as much as 500,000 tonnes by 2023. The initiative was unveiled last year by the state-run General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture (TARIM).
From 2005 to 2015, Turkey’s fish and seafood industry players managed to raise their production by a robust 315%, up from about 60,000 tonnes to some 250,000 tonnes. As a result, Turkey has become the second largest producer of sea bream, and the third largest producer of sea brass, according to data released by the TARIM.
However, the increase in the domestic production has not been accompanied by a matching expansion of Turkey’s fish consumption. Currently, an average Turk eats about 7 kg of fish and seafood per year.