FISH PRODUCTION IN ISRAEL by Harm Klein, Feed Consultant, Zemach, Netherlands
n Israel yearly approximately 20,000 tonnes of fish is produced, land-based and offshore; mainly seabass, carp and Tilapia. Because of the lack of fresh water, the production of fish per ha., waterarea is the highest in the world. The veterinary quality control is on high level because of the intensive breeding chain. Zemach is the main producer of aquafeed in the country. Zemach Feed Mill, in Israel, produces fish feed, animal feed and pet food with a no-nonsense attitude and an emphasis on serving clients, both in Israel and abroad. It is a good example of a plant that can produce both aquafeed and other kinds of animal feed, all with great success. The plant is situated on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, at its southern point, where the lake flows into the Jordan River (Picture 1). About 20 years ago, 15 members of this co-operative asked Zemach to produce aquafeed, resulting in todayâ€™s modern plant. During a visit to the aquafeed plant in the Galilee region in Israel, we met Mr Asher Braun, V.P. Nutrition and Mr Yizhaq Tal, V.P. Operations (see Braun and Tal). Both of who can boast
vast experience in this market. The complete team of the fish feed department counts eight employees.
The Israeli market
In the early years of Zemach Feed Mill, circa. 1965, fish feed was not produced in the country at all. There were only imported products. Years later the members of the cooperative at Zemach were dissatisfied with the quality, price and availability of the imported products. Zemach start producing pelleted fish feed and later on their fish feed line was built and the first extruded aquafeed was produced, just before this millennium. For several years, Zemach was the only producer in the country. Nowadays, of the three local producers, Zemach is by far the biggest. Up to several years ago apart from the growers near Bet Shean 20 km away and those in the Northern coastal region, there was a large concentration of fish production in the Red Sea, close to Eilat. However, intensive fish farming in this area caused damage to the coral and consequently the fish cages were moved to the harbour of Ashdod; open water connected to the Mediterranean Sea (Picture 3). Today, also in the Negev desert, as example an intensive farm produces 2.000 tons of seabream annually. Weekly several trucks are delivering the high quality feed.
Today, the production volume is under strain because of several threats: the dollar rate, the termination of import taxes on fresh and frozen fish and the stronger environmental regulations, none of which is beneficial for the market. 24 | November 2017 - International Aquafeed