Armenia seeks European experts to assess fish farms

Armenian prime minister Tigran Sarkisian told a Cabinet session today that the government will hire European Union experts to asses Armenia’s fishing farms and find out whether they are ready to comply with European certification requirements.

Tigran Sarkisian said last year a Russian government agency supervising the quality of agricultural goods certified 22 Armenian fishing farms allowing them to sell some 500 tons of their goods in Russia.

"Development of fish farming creates additional growth potential. According to our forecasts, in 2011 fish farming will see a significant increase, " Sarkisian said, but did not elaborate.

According to the Association of Fish Farmers in Armenia, the potential for fish production in Armenia is 300 thousand tons per year, while the volume of aquaculture areas can make at least $ 1.5-2 billion.

Armenia has some 290 fish farms, which produced in 2009 4,500 tons of fish. The volume of processed fish products is around 20-30 tons per year. Armenia exports mainly live or fresh frozen fish to Russia, Georgia and Ukraine, which slashed consumption due to the global crisis. Annual supply of fish products to Russia, amount to approximately $1 million, and that to Ukraine to about $300,000. -0-

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