The Georgian Marine Fishing Cluster was established to unite fishing and fish processing companies operating in the city of Poti, Georgia.
The city of Poti is the center of marine fishing and fish processing in Georgia. In the marine Equatorial of Georgia, the main share of the fish catch comes from anchovies.
Anchovy is a small (12-15 cm) fish, it moves in groups, in large caravans, it feeds on small planktonic crustaceans, it lives in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, as well as in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.
In Georgia, the fishing season on Anchovy begins in October and lasts until May. Anchovy obtained in Georgia has a high protein content, therefore its market price is higher, and it is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
In the 1980s, the percentage share of Anchovy fishing near the coast of Georgia was 90% of the fish caught, which in turn reached 40% of the total Anchovy fishing in the Black Sea basin.
Currently, the annual market quota of Georgian is 70-80 000 tons. Up to 15 companies are engaged in fishing and share the so-called 12% license quota. And 5 companies are involved in the processing of extracted fish and the export of products obtained from it, at the same time are the owners of long-term fishing licenses.
Fish caught in the Georgian Black Sea is the 3rd animal product (after wool and honey) that will be allowed on the EU market, however, so far, Georgian companies have had difficulty exporting anchovy to the EU market.
The main reason for the problem lies in the fact that it is impossible to conduct complete laboratory research in Georgia. The laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture cannot ensure the determination of dioxin and mercury levels in raw fish and processed products, which are the most important components for determining the safety of the product.
Complete laboratory research meeting the requirements of EU countries cannot be carried out even in private laboratories, therefore the manufacturing companies have to send samples abroad, which is a rather difficult procedure. At this stage, the foam obtained in Georgia and its processed products are exported to the Republic of Turkey, where they are further processed and used in the field of cosmetics, food, and health.
Currently, 2 companies with fishing licenses and 7 firms involved in fishing are united in the Georgian Marine Fishing Cluster. The companies sell anchovy to the processing factories at the established price. At the same time, companies engaged in the craft supply the local market with raw fish. A number of them own small cold storage farms where raw fish are frozen and packaged for export or further sale.
The Georgian Marine Fishing Cluster, with joint efforts with the mentioned companies, is trying to solve the problems in the sector and promote Georgian products in the international market.