Istrian Companies Launching Projects Selling Adriatic Delicacies

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, although Istria is perhaps best known for tourism and for its tobacco and construction industries, and more recently for technology, beautiful Istria County is increasingly focusing on the development of its local fisheries and aquaculture. One of those Istrian companies in the sector is S.I.C. from Visnjan, which wants to expand its fish processing programme with products from Adriatic algae.

Back in 2014 they moved into their new business complex larger than 6000 square metres, intended for their production, processing and the trade of fish products, including the centre for the purification and dispatch of live shellfish. They successfully place their products on export markets, which account for more than 80 percent of their total sales.

The company buys fish for further processing, purchasing the catches of about 150 fishing boats along the entire Adriatic sea, and they point out that Adriatic fish is among the highest quality and most appreciated across Europe and the world.

Otherwise, S.I.C. has been operating since back 1994 as a business venture of two entrepreneurial families, their headquarters are in Visnjan, and today it has more than 160 employees. Their annual income stands at just under 80 million kuna in total.

Market recognition for Istrian companies operating within this sector

The Istrian Development Agency (IDA) recently prepared an analysis of the current situation and guidelines for the development of fisheries and aquaculture in Istria County for the period from 2021 to 2027 as part of the Investinfish project.

IDA Director Boris Sabatti emphasised that the document contains a vision of implementing the strategic transformation of fisheries and aquaculture development in Istria County for the upcoming programming period until 2027, with the aim of strengthening the overall sustainability of the blue sector.

”The emphasis in the analysis and guidelines is placed on strengthening the sustainability of Istrian fisheries and aquaculture in all its aspects (ecological, social, economic) and on introducing innovations in fisheries and the value chain of fishery products, strengthening cooperation between the public sector, the scientific community and the private sector in piloting new and innovative technologies, production processes and the standards of market recognition certificates, as well as the transfer of knowledge and experience,” said Sabatti.

He added that the most of what is in the aforementioned document is dedicated to processing the specifics of Istria’s fisheries and aquaculture sector, based primarily on input data collected from eight Istrian companies and enterprises from the fisheries and aquaculture sector who responded to a public call announced by the IDA.

In addition to the already mentioned SIC, another company, Milena from Bacva, which deals with cod processing, wants to expand its range with white and blue fish products from the Adriatic sea, while Levan from Medulin, which recently launched its first canned sardines with the Hook & cook brand, wants to expand its range of canned sardine products with different flavours.

The Medulin-based enterprise Ruza plans to open an anchovy shop in Pula, and Ribarska zadruga Istra from Porec recently developed a burger made of mullet and Adriatic shrimp as a new product through another international project, Prizefish, and this encouraged team wants to develop other new Adriatic fish-based products.

Another Istrian company, Istrida, grows oysters and mussels in the Lim Channel, and wants to get closer to the tourist market by purchasing a tourist boat for sightseeing the farm, which would also double up as a tasting room of sorts for their own products.

The projects being taken up by Istrian company has also been joined by Oli Mare from Porec, and the fishing enterprise Bonaca from Stinjan. The total value of the planned investments of the eight involved Istrian companies stands at a massive 72 million kuna.

The Investinfish project, with a total value of 11 million kuna, is being implemented with the co-financing of the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg V-A Italy – Croatia.

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