Where do Kefalonia Fisheries products come from?
Kefalonia Fisheries’ sea bass and sea bream are raised in the virgin sea of the island of Kefalonia, in western Greece. They swim in the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea, their natural habitat, and are subjected to minimum handling, always by experienced staff, with a focus on their well-being and the environment’s protection. They spend between 16 and 60 months in the water before reaching the final consumer. Kefalonia Fisheries’ sea bass and sea bream are believed to have an exceptionally superior taste from their counterparts, apart from the technical production details (meticulous handling, highest quality feeds etc), because of the location of the farm, in a virtually unspoiled environment, on an island that oozes with natural beauty.
How sustainable is production of Sea Bass and Sea Bream at Kefalonia Fisheries?
Very! Aquaculture in general is an act of sustainable development by definition: lifting pressure from wild stocks, whilst offering high quality dietary protein to an increasing number of people around the world. Furthermore, at Kefalonia Fisheries, we are certified according to the ASC Seabass, Seabream & Meagre standard and the ASC Chain of Custody standard (www.asc-aqua.org), the Friend of the Sea standard for sustainable aquaculture (www.friendofthesea.org) as well as the Global G.A.P. standard (www.globalgap.org) and inspected every year by accredited bodies, to confirm that we fulfill all requirements of the standards and our activities abide to the sustainability principles, all 3 of them concerning the environment, the society and the firm itself. The most critical points of implementing sustainable farming practices are:
banning use of harmful antifoulants, GMOs and growth hormones throughout the entire production procedure
using sustainable feeds (all feeds and feed manufacturers we work with are certified sustainable) which consist of fish meal and fish oil derived from sustainably managed fisheries
monitoring the quality of the farming medium and surrounding environment and making sure everything is in compliance with the set water and environmental quality parameters and no critical habitats are impacted by the activity
Kefalonia Fisheries has been the subject of the longest running environmental impact study of sea bass and sea bream farming in Europe run by the Marine Biology Institute of the University of Crete. Accumulated data from over 10 years has conclusively shown no adverse impact on our environment. We are one of the first farms for these species to adopt fallowing practices, rotating our cage groups at the end of every production cycle.
Sea bass and sea bream farmed in the Mediterranean are characterized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch report as a “good alternative” (http://www.seafoodwatch.org/-/m/sfw/pdf/reports/s/mba_seafoodwatch_european_seabass_gilthead_seabream_report.pdf) .
What is organic fish farming and how does it differ from conventional fish farming?
Organic fish farming is the ultimate form of fish farming with respect to the environment, the well-being of the fish and the consumer, and as such, it perfectly fits Kefalonia Fisheries’ profile and priorities. Kefalonia Fisheries was in fact actively involved in the development of the first private organic standard for sea bass and sea bream by Naturland e.V. and was the very first fish farm to be certified for the organic production of these species. Today, Kefalonia Fisheries holds both the Naturland e.V. certificate as well as the E.U. organic aquaculture certificate.
Organic and non-organic production at Kefalonia Fisheries are both conducted responsibly and with the utmost respect to the environment, the fish, the final consumer and the working force of our company. The fish grow slowly, as nature intended, in the crystal clear waters of Kefalonia, with minimum handling.
Specific points where organic fish farming defers from non-organic are:
Feeds: organic aquaculture calls for use of certified organic fish feed. These feeds consist of fish meal and fish oil made entirely from wild fish trimmings from existing fisheries. Additionally, all vegetable components/ingredients are certified organic, deriving from organic agriculture
Stocking density: whilst non organic fish farming allows for up to 18kg of fish per m3, our organic cage groups are stocked at a density of just 10kg/m3 (the EU organic standard allows for up to 15kg/m3). Our non-organic cage groups are stocked at a maximum density of 15kg/m3
Harvesting and processing: Organic sea bass and sea bream, according to the organic fish farming standards, are harvested and processed through the packaging unit first, prior to any non-organic harvesting and packaging, and in specially labelled tanks and boxes
Supply chain: all parties involved in the procedure of delivering and offering the organic products to the final consumer (e.g. processing plant, truck service, wholesaler and retail market) must be certified by accredited bodies, and eligible for handling and selling the specific products
Labelling and marketing: all organic sea bass and sea bream must bear a clear label/tag identifying them as organic and displaying the information required by the specific regulation on organic products’ labelling.
How long does it take for a Sea Bass / Sea Bream to grow to marketable size?
Sea bass and Sea bream are so called “slow growers”. Their intrinsic growth rate is quite slower than other farmed fish species and there is no way to accelerate it, therefore they are let to grow naturally, at their own pace.
Grow out time to marketable size depends on the size of the fish when sold. Although the most common size offered at super markets and restaurants is 400-600gr for both Sea Bass and Sea Bream, these two species can be marketed in much larger sizes. Kefalonia Fisheries specializes in the larger Sea Bass, which can reach the size of 2-3 kg.
Therefore production time spans from 16 to 60+months!
Indicatively, for a Sea Bass or Sea Bream to reach a size of just 400gr we take extra good care of them for around 1.5 years.
How is the environmental impact of the daily fish farming activities monitored and controlled?
At Kefalonia Fisheries, sustaining the environment at its best condition is a conscious commitment and a top priority. We understand that we are beholden to our environment and we are responsible for its care. We thus work to make the gentlest impression possible and we strive every day to leave it in a better state than when we began. This commitment is imprinted in our ISO 14001 certificate, defining an Environmental Policy fully supported by all members of the company as well as the wider community.
Additional to our sense of responsibility towards the environment, there is a vital responsibility towards our fish. Any amount of degradation of the natural environment would have a direct impact on our fish populations. Sea bass and Sea bream are particularly sensitive to suboptimal farming conditions.
In order to monitor the condition of the environment at the farming site, a series of procedures are in place. These include:
Regular samplings of the water inside and around the sea pens, as well as the sea bed beneath the sea pens. Samples are analyzed at accredited laboratories and a specific list of factors are checked, as set by the relative European regulation
Regular visual inspection by trained divers
Digital monitoring of the conditions within and around the farming site by use of digital underwater cameras
Implementation of fallowing practices, rotating cage groups at the end of every production cycle