Turkish pioneer in seafood export for 60 years

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For more than 60 years, a Turkish seafood company has been exporting frogs to many countries of the world, especially France.

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The representative of the fourth generation of the Sagun Group, the vice-chairman of the company’s board of directors, Ogulcan Kemal Sagun, said that they have been working in the aquaculture sector since the fifties of the last century.

Saghoon explained that his grandfather Hussein learned fishing from his grandfather in the city of Samsun overlooking the Black Sea (north) before settling in Istanbul and establishing the family company.

He stated that they carry out their commercial activities through 15 locations in different Turkish states, noting that his company exports 70 percent of its products to various countries of the world.

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Saghoon said that the company grows various marine products, the most important of which are tuna, sea bream, sea bass (bass), trout, turkey, water frogs, snails, shrimp (prawns) and crabs.

He stated that his company exports its products to 40 countries, the first of which is France, including Switzerland and Japan, which imports about 90 percent of the Turkish tuna produced by the company.

He added that his company also contributes to the production of Turkish salmon, which has rapidly increased in popularity in the past five years.

He continued, “Turkish salmon is a source of our pride, and Turkey is the second largest producer of this type of fish after Norway.”

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Sagon said that Turkey produces world-class seafood and his company is developing this type of product that has developed due to the quality accumulated over a long history of business.

He explained that most of the products, such as sea snails, frogs and lobsters, are collected for the benefit of his company from fishermen and villagers.

“The fishermen, the villagers and the members of the cooperatives collect these products,” he said.

He added, “We also buy these marine products from manufacturers, and our company prepares, packages and exports them according to customers’ requests.”

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He added, “We have farms of water frogs, and this type of production contributes to supporting the export sector in the seasons when hunting is prohibited.”

Regarding the company’s leadership in exporting frogs, Sagun said: “My grandfather began in the early sixties of the last century collecting water frogs in the Thrace region and exporting them to France.”

He added, “Water frogs are a popular food in France and Switzerland, and we have worked to increase their exports to these two countries.”

Sagoun stated that exports of frogs remained low compared to fish.

“The annual exports of water frogs amount to about 20 million dollars,” he said.

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He continued, “This type of export does not have a wide market, but it constitutes an important sector of the company’s exports.”