Monday, July 28, 2014

28/07/2014: An Aquafeed interview with Onur Emre Solak of Pharmaq of Turkey

Onur Emre Solak is the Country Manager of Pharmaq in Turkey. Pharmaq are best known as one of the biggest fish health and vaccine solution providers and is best known as one of the biggest fish health and vaccine solution providers. 

It provides environmentally sound, safe and efficacious health products to the global aquaculture industry through targeted research.

Pharmaq’s vaccines are manufactured in a state-of-the-art production facility in Overhalla, Norway. Administration and Research and Development activities are based in Oslo, Norway. With subsidiaries in Chile, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Turkey, Pharmaq has around 165 employees. Our products are marketed in Europe, North and South America and Asia through an extensive network of distributors and wholesalers. 

When did you begin with Pharmaq and when did Pharmaq begin in Turkish aquaculture?

I have been with Pharmaq since 2011’s establishment of the company. Pharmaq achieved its first license to operate in Turkey in November 2013 and then brought the first product of Alpha Ject 2000 to the Turkish market in January 2013. Since December 2013 another product came to market and we are working on others also. I work closely with Donald Campbell, Sales and Business Manager for the Mediterranean region and Norwegian colleagues as well.

Which regions do you serve, and how much of the market do you serve?

For the marine species , 30 percent of our customers are in the Izmir region and 70 percent are in the Bodrum region in Turkey. From June to November, we call it the ‘vaccination season’ and so we travel and meet with customers all around the region.
How does the operation work in Turkey? What species are most common to vaccinate?
Seabass, seabream and trout are the main species. The operations are well-rounded in that these are quality products for farmers, along with education, guidance and follow up visits from Turkish staff. 

However, there are several farms in Iran located along one river which we count as our customers. We are trying to improve the bio-security problems learnt in Chile and its sea-lice problems and prevent them from taking place here.

Where is Turkey compared to Europe on aquaculture disease management? What are the current challenges?

 The general trend in Turkey has been of developing resistance to health problems and this is now done through vaccination rounds. Comparing Turkey with Norway shows that Turkey is at the early 1990s stage with the use of antibiotics compared to vaccinations. The general trend has been to use antibiotics in the past. A proactive approach has been taken in Turkey to prevent diseases. As antibiotics are phased out and replaced by vaccination the level of disease is expected to drop dramatically in future.

What after-sales support does Pharmaq offer? 

Pharmaq visits customers on their fish farms for follow-up support of all kinds. Both local and the Norwegian Pharmaq personnel visit regularly to develop the products for the regional challenges. 

In simple terms, what is the overall plan for Pharmaq’s development in Turkey? 

We will build to a point where our Mediterranean team acts as a hub for the region through Turkey for the Turkish Republics and the Middle East. 

How is Turkish aquaculture working with European, middle Eastern or Asian fish farmers from your point-of-view in the development of health in fish? And where is assistance mainly coming from for the growing Turkish fish farming market - is it through know-how, academic research, training and education, investments, technology and equipment?

Currently, there is not much of a serious study for fish health in Turkey, but since our market is global most of the farm investments are importing all kind of technology from the pioneer countries in aquaculture.

For health management, we are doing the best we can by following up new diseases and current situations. We are also working in a close relationship with authorities and some universities but I can say that academically Turkey still has some miles to cover in disease management, especially with regard to bio-security at farms.

Off-shore fish farming was a good step taken also for the health management combined with other necessities such as water flow and depth. Turkey does not have separate guidelines for fish health other than for farmed animals. But considering the new regulations launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, such as pharmaq-vigilance, we believe soon we will have a upper-scale system for monitoring and controlling aquaculture health system nationwide.

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