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Exploring new areas and species for Ace Aquatec stunners

18 January 2023

Exploring new areas and species for Ace Aquatec stunners

The potential market for humane stunning in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region is gaining momentum, driven by a greater focus on animal welfare among producers, retailers and consumers.

Identifying the opportunities in the area, Ace Aquatec appointed Costa Skotidas as Sales and Partnerships Manager for EMEA three months ago, and his previous background in the zone is reflected in a host of new contacts.

‘The region is getting the time and attention it deserves and we’re very excited to expand our product into these markets,’ said Skotidas.

‘Ace Aquatec’s in-water electric stunner reduces stress at harvest so not only is it kinder on the fish, but it also results in better quality flesh, without compromising on operational efficiency.

‘Consumers, generally, are becoming more aware of farming practices and people are buying differently. They want to know how the animal has been treated and what the impact of farming is on the environment.’

Farmers in Greece, and also in Spain, increasingly understand the need for more humane slaughter, in line with a drive for sustainability, and following a change in animal protection legislation in the UK – an important export market - which recognises animal sentience in law for the first time.

Ace Aquatec already had a foothold in Greece, with an on-board installation for sea bass and bream producer Avramar. And there are other projects in the pipeline, including another stunner aboard a boat, for a new customer.

‘The fish come through a pump on to the boat and are stunned, put on ice and then taken ashore for processing, which is more humane than putting them on to ice before they are stunned,’ said Skotidas.

Ace Aquatec recently named Stamatiou Aquaculture, the EU’s largest producer of farmed sea bass and gilthead sea bream, as distributor of its electric stunner in the country.

‘In each market, local knowledge is key so if you can draw on that expertise, it becomes a partnership where you’re working together for a common goal,’ said Skotidas.

In Turkey, too, there is scope to develop, and Ace Aquatec believes this will be a great region for its stunning technology in the long-term.

‘I’ve been speaking to the suppliers and producers of bass, bream and trout – where we have a lot of experience in the UK – and this is definitely a market to watch in the future,’ said Skotidas.

‘In central Europe – in Germany, Switzerland and so on – you’re dealing with consumers geared towards sustainability, and sophisticated about how their food is produced.

‘But in the Mediterranean, producers are engaging more with local communities, chefs and retailers, and fish welfare and ethical practices have moved up the agenda, for supermarkets and consumers.’

As well as overseeing the firm’s expansion into further European markets, Skotidas is also spearheading Ace Aquatec’s introduction into the Middle East and Africa, and has had recent enquiries from both regions.

‘There is interest from developing markets among aquaculture enterprises, and across species, and while we’re in the early stages of these relationships, it does show how strong our brand is within the industry. When electrical stunning is being discussed, Ace Aquatec is the name that comes up.’