Country Information and Farm Results

We chose the production of portion-sized trout in Turkey, Denmark and Germany as a first agri benchmark case study for two reasons:

  • the three countries are closely linked via the market for portion-sized trout and
  • the three countries differ much in their political and climate production framework conditions, which make them to an excellent case for a benchmark study.

Turkey - Trout

Turkey is the second largest producer of portion-sized trout in the world.

Farming trouts started in 1971 in Turkey and increased dramatically in the last decades. From 2004 to 2013 the production tripled up to 122,873 ton portion-sized trout per year. Even though, there is a large domestic market for trout products, many of the larger farms export their trout to the EU. 19 % of all export in 2014 went to Germany. The majority of trout farmer use raceways for on-growing. 

Favorable climate conditions and good water supply enable a very efficient grow-out process in Turkish trout farms. Additionally, Turkish trout farmers benefit from low local wages and low investment costs. Although the prices per kg trout at farm gate are low in comparison to other countries, the farms´ profits are still good.

Impressions of Turkish Trout Production

Click to enlarge pictures. Copyright for all pictures: © ab/Tobias Lasner

fish transport
Fish Transport
trout farm
Trout Farm
netcages for trouts
Netcages for Trouts
netcages for trouts
Netcages for Trouts
nursery of trouts
Nursery of Trouts
raceways for trouts
Raceways for Trouts
raceways for trouts
Raceways for Trouts
raceways for trouts
Raceways for Trouts
trout farm in Turkey
Trout Farm
trout harvest in Turkey
Trout Harvest

Denmark - Trout

Inside the European Union, Denmark is the most important supplier of trout on the German market.

Danish fish famers produced 27,000 tons of portion-sized trout in 2013. 90 % of Denmark’s trout production is exported. Regarding production per km², Denmark has a very intensive inland trout production compared to Germany and Turkey.

Although traditional farms operating with earthen ponds are still most important in terms of the national trout production, larger recirculated systems, so called model farms, have started to restructure the Danish sector. Denmark has worse climate conditions for trout rearing than southern countries like Turkey. This and its remarkable high labor costs can be seen as hampering factors for competitiveness.

Danish trout farmers seem to have only two options for being competitive: automating and specialization. In fact, our calculation shows that large modern recirculating systems (RAS) and specialized organic farms have a greater degree of profitability than traditional farms do. RAS technology reduces labor costs and the feed management is optimized. Organic farms are often able to get higher prices for the certified trout and thereby improve their profitability.

Germany - Trout

organic fish farm Germany

German fish farmers produce almost exclusively for the domestic market.

While Denmark and Turkey are trout producers with remarkable exports, Germany is a net importer of portion-sized trout and the most important market in the EU.  The overwhelming majority of German trout farmers are smallholders. There are only a few larger farms, mainly located in Baden-Württemberg (Southwest Germany). 

Very small organic trout farms in Germany struggle with extra high costs in particularly for feed. In contrast, the few large trout farms which exist are highly profitable. In consequence, competition on the international level seems to be possible for German trout farmers. But, although there is a good profitability for larger trout farms, the German sector has stagnated in the recent years. There is a need for further research on non-economic factors, which hamper the growth of trout production in Germany.

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