Sofiko village, Greece
By Yorgos Karahalis
Fish farming was a business that a few decades ago was completely alien in Greece, where eating fish was strictly related to the local fisherman, the weather conditions and the phase of the moon.
These days, regardless of the moon and the weather, we can all buy fresh fish at extremely low prices, every day. And from my experience of the industry during the days I photographed its fish farms and hatcheries, I realized there is more to the process than I thought – it’s a production line that resembles the circle of life itself.
The first step in the journey is at the hatchery. There you’ll find the broodstock, a group of fish held in the facility for breeding purposes. Once the eggs are chosen, they’re transferred to different tanks where they start growing up. At the same time, ichthyologists, the scientists who study fish, carry out regular checks on the newborns to make sure they’re healthy.
What do they eat? Well, they don’t consume food the way we think. A team at the hatchery is responsible for the daily production of plankton – a microscopic organism fish feed on – from scratch. Just next to the tanks where the fish live, an entire business devoted to taking care of the food has been set up, made up of colorful big plastic “tubes” as well as huge cans with different types of plankton – phytoplankton and zooplankton.
As the fish grow up, they’re transferred in groups according to their age to other tanks until the day they leave the hatchery for the fish farm in the open sea, making room for the younger ones at the facility.