Avramar makes personnel additions, boosts its security system
Avramar – formed in 2020 through the merger of Andromeda Group, Nireus, Selonda, and fish feed producer Perseus – has engaged G4S to provide a bespoke security package.
The vertical integration of the company’s operations in Greece and Spain, farming sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), sea bream (Sparus aurata), corvina (Argyrosomus regius), and pagrus (Pagrus major), created what is now the largest aquaculture company in the Mediterranean.
Avramar now operates 12 hatcheries, 71 sea farm sites, three feed plants, and a number of packaging and processing units. Its cage farm sites can be found in the Aegean and Ionian Seas in Greece, and in Spain and the Canary Islands, and the company has developed major fresh fish export markets in the United States, France, Italy, and Spain, and also supplies supermarkets throughout Europe and the United Kingdom.
Security on the fish farms, some of which some of which are up to 20 kilometres off the coast, is crucial to ensure that both assets and employees are well protected, according to the company. Threats in the Mediterranean include poachers in small vessels, organized criminal gangs, and other boats straying into a fish farm, causing accidental damage. To deal with these issues, Avramar has engaged G4S, which describes itself as the world’s leading global, integrated security company.
Previously, Avramar employed security officers to assess and identify dangers, but with their operations growing, the company decided that human surveillance alone was not sufficient to deal with potential threats to the farms, particularly in the open sea. According to G4S, even if the amount of fish stolen is not significant, the activities of poachers can damage farm equipment, nets, and cages. This is particularly pertinent for Avramar’s 12 static platforms off the coast of Astakos in western Greece, each of which is encircled by and serves as the management center for a group of fish cages.
The integrated security solution proposed by G4S uses specialized nautical radars and state-of-the-art thermal and optical imaging cameras to protect the perimeter of each farm. Vessels that come too close are detected by radar, and the system can distinguish whether an approaching boat is friendly or unknown.
“Avramar wanted a more responsive and effective security arrangement, which we have developed in partnership with them and put into operation in July 2020,” G4S Greece Secure Solutions Project Manager Panagiotis Lamprintzis said. “Our solution protects the company’s assets and employees, the farms themselves, and the fish they produce.”
All sea-going personnel wear life jackets, with alarms that link to the local G4S monitoring center, and a GPS tracker to pinpoint precisely where a person is, should they fall in the water. A fleet of speedboats is used to patrol high traffic routes close to the farms and is available to react to emergencies or rescue situations. Thermal imaging cameras are used at night to verify movements in and around the farms.
“The results have been exceptional, with no poaching incidents or damage caused to the farms since the new integrated security solution was put in place, which gives Avramar complete peace of mind," Lamprintzis said.
Separately, Avramar has hired Jay Burke as its director of business development in North America. He will be responsible for North American sales, strategies, and execution in all channels and customers in the United States and Canada markets, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously served as national key account manager at True North Seafood, and before that, as sales director for Inland Lobster.
Avramar also appointed Michael Hollis as its chief commercial officer in February 2021, after he served as the group CCO for the Andromeda Group of companies beginning in August 2019. U.S.-based company AMERRA Capital Management LLC and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company are the entities behind the merger of Andromeda Seafood, Nireus Aquaculture, and Selonda Aquaculture, and will serve as shareholders in the combined enterprise. The newly combined company launched a united branding effort in January 2021.
“We now want to create a sustainable Mediterranean leader in aquaculture, and a global leader in bass and bream. We believe that building one common company through one common brand will bring a fresh way forward for our industry, Avramar CEO Alex Myers said in a video announcement.
Avramar, which recorded more than EUR 400 million (EUR 481.4 million) in annual revenue in 2019 but saw its income fall between 5 and 7 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is banking on more recognizable and consumer-friendly formats for its product offerings to drive its growth moving forward, according to Myers.
“We want to bring more value-added and convenient products to the market – easier to prepare, easier to cook, and to eat,” Myers said.
The company purchased select aquaculture assets of Grupo Fuentes, the company formerly known as Ricardo Fuentes e Hijos, located in Cartagena, Murcia, and Lanzarote, Spain, according to MisPeces.com. The assets were sold after Grupo Fuentes experienced significant losses due to Tropical Storm Gloria in January 2020, according to MurciaDiario.com.
Photo courtesy of Avramar