ArmInfo. The fish farms are raising alarm - the fish breeding sector in Armenia is endangered, while the Ministry of Agriculture is disseminating misinformation, thereby contributing to monopolization of the fish breeding sector, Artur Atoyan, Head of the Union of Armenian Fish Producers and Exporters, and fish breeder Haykaz Zeynalyan told reporters on May 24.
Atoyan said that 3 fish farms were closed over the past 5 days. "In 2014-2015, a total of 77 companies closed down, including 30 in Jan-May 2016," Atoyan said. At the moment, there are nearly 70-80 fish farms in Armenia, but their future is also endangered. "The slumping exports of Armenian fish products due to the growth in the fish prime cost and, consequently, unprofitability of exports and failure to attract investments endanger the fish breeding sector in
Armenia", Atoyan said.
He added that amid 70% reduction in exports of Armenian fish products and 60% reduction in imports of fish food, as well as consistent closure of fish farms, the Ministry of Agriculture announces that the exports have grown. "The Ministry of Agriculture is disseminating
misinformation, because these statements have nothing to do with the reality," said Atoyan, stressing that this way the ministry contributes to monopolization of the sector.
Atoyan said that the Union of Armenian Fish Producers and Exporters has repeatedly sent written requests to the authorized structures, however, it has received no reply. "We have sent 18 letters to the Ministry of Agriculture, but we received no reply. When we apply to them orally, they say our requests are groundless," he said.
Haykaz Zeynalyan, the head of a fish farm, said that fish exports are no longer a profitable business - the fish prime cost is constantly growing due to the rise in water supply fee and imported fish food price. As a result, the domestic market experiences surplus of fish
products and price reduction. The lack of preferential lending and state subsidies are pain in the farmers' neck. "All this demonstrates active monopolization of the market," Zeynalyan said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture does not share this opinion. Tigran Alexanyan, Head of the Fish Breeding and Bee Breeding Unit of the Cattle Breeding and Veterinary of the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture, told ArmInfo one usually does not comment on the statements of incompetent and unaware persons, but he noted that when publicizing data the Ministry of Agriculture is guided by comprehensive information received from competent sources. "As of today, there are 198 operating fish farms in Armenia," Alexanyan
said. He added that there is no large-scale closure of fish farms and that this year nearly 15-19 farms have closed. He noted that there is no sector monopolization, because the procedure of receiving permit for fish export has been facilitated. In Jan-Apr 2016 versus Jan-Apr 2015, exports grew by 95 tons.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in 2015 the gross fish breeding output rose by 6.4% to 27.8 bln AMD. In 2014, 2.7 thsd tons of fish were exported from Armenia versus 1.6 thsd tons in 2011. The fish is mostly exported to Russia, to a less extent - to Georgia, the UAE and the USA.