On 17 March, an online presentation of 4BIZ partner countries’ reports took place. We invite you to read the latest information on the blue economy in Georgia, presented by the speakers of the LEPL “Batumi State Maritime Academy”
Сurrent situation in Georgia in the field of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coastal and Maritime Tourism and Maritime Transport.
Field of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coastal and Maritime Tourism and Maritime Transport in Georgia is in process of reformation and leaves space for further development. The port system in Georgia undergoes significant expansion, namely Poti port expands its off-dock container storage capacity and a new breakwater. There is lack of ship repair facilities means that domestic needs are often served in neighbouring countries, notably Turkey and Bulgaria; and there is a growing recognition from both government and industry of the need to develop adequate shipyards and repair facilities in Georgia through foreign investment. The fishing fleet is small in size and old, and currently under restructuring. The Government has recently introduced legislation for the regulation of aquaculture in the territorial waters of Georgia. However, a development strategy for aquaculture, which will support the growth of this sector in Georgia is not yet adopted. Despite the opportunities, the sea is not actively used for cruise tourism in Batumi and Georgia.
Important positive aspects during research.
- Significant progress was achieved in field of regulatory framework. An important national-international agreement, EU-Georgia Association Agreement, which contains strategic steps for management of marine environment;
- EU funded project in field of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Maritime Transport play significat role for development of industry;
- There are successful companies with good potential for growth.
- Since December 2019, as a result of the joint work of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the Maritime Transport Agency and the “Enterprise Georgia” agency, the fishing direction was added to the “Enterprise Georgia ” program. In 2020-2021, within the framework of the industrial program, 19 projects (13 ships) were financed;13 fishing vessels were purchased, of which 6 are newly built vessels and 7 are second-hand vessels; the amount of the loan is 57,144,992 GEL (nearly 2228290$), and the total amount of investment is 66,029,898.60 GEL (nearly 25747447$). The co-financing amount of “Enterprise Georgia “agency is 18,317,952 GEL (nearly 7142832$). The number of jobs created by the investment is 312. The program simultaneously provides up to 5 million GEL (nearly 1949681$) with a credit-guarantee mechanism (90% guarantee) and a bank loan refinancing rate plus the possibility of 3% co-financing.
- Currently fishing companies are operating in Georgia. They are currently the largest license holders of fishing quotas. They have fishing vessels and are also renting other vessels if needed. They also process fish processing facilities. Those fishing companies are preparing fish flour and small quantities of fish oil for export and thanks to the DCFTA with EU, they are also exporting it to EU. They mainly employ local staff in the fishing process and they have ensured that at least 30% of fishermen employed are Georgian citizens.
- Azimut yachts (Ramses Georgia Yachting Platform), which has sold a record number of recreational yachts during the Covid 19 pandemic, is thriving
Lessons learned during the implementation of the research in Georgia
- Legislation on aquaculture which is just now adopted is the first step to the way of development of this sector in Georgia. Aquaculture has big potential and can lead to successful business projects with variety employment opportunities and impact to country’s economic growth.
- The small scale yachting and cruising is very perspective industry for Georgia. Infrastructure, such as berths for yachts in Georgian need to be developed on first stage.
- A considerable lack of human resources and education/training in terms of maritime profession in Georgia. This is especially true for port based professions such as stevedores, dockers and others and also ship and logistics agents, fishermen and etc.
Vital needs to effectively ensure the next steps of this project.
- Georgia needs to raise awairness on Blue Economy both on industry and Governmental levels. There is need of Government policy in terms of blue economy and maritime field in general.
- In terms environmental improvement, Georgia undertakes, with a limited number of scientific staff and policy officers only, extensive efforts to assess its marine environment. Several institutions, like the National Environmental Agency’s (NEA) Environmental Pollution Monitoring and Fisheries and Black Sea Monitoring Departments, are of utmost importance for coastal and marine monitoring programmes and activities. The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development assesses parameters of economic activities that depend on the coastal and marine environment. Next to these state departments and institutions, some universities conduct marine and coastal research.
*This Project has received funding from the European Union’s European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) under Grant Agreement 101077576.
**Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.