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An Israeli Pitch On The Benefits Of "Patriotic" High-Tech Investing

Workers at Intel's plant in Kiryat Gat
Workers at Intel's plant in Kiryat Gat
Kobi Shimna*


TEL AVIV — Israel's high-tech industry has experienced a major boost in recent years. The 2014 numbers are notable: a record $3.4 billion in investments and mergers and acquisitions valued at $7 billion. There was also an increase in venture capital funds raised, totaling approximately $914 million.

None of this is by chance. The forces at play are tightly linked, reflecting a willingness among entrepreneurs and investors to take greater risks. This requires patience and the ability to resist early acquisition offers that might reap immediate profit but that don't reflect potential maximum value.

It's important to note that in the world of business, those who enjoy the most success are the investors who risk their money, time and energy to launch companies and guide their subsequent development.

The chain of investors in the high-tech world starts with venture capital investors who raise their money from institutional investors such as pension funds that can include taxpayer money. Profit-sharing policies and pension funds will benefit most from subsequent exits and from the rising value of companies.

Unfortunately, the numbers show that a significant number of Israeli institutions have chosen not to invest in local high-tech companies in the past. They are therefore not profiting from today's boom.

It's logical

The point is that we must take into account other considerations at the national level when deciding whether to invest in public funds in the local high-tech industry or in other investment channels abroad.

We must understand that when we invest our money abroad, we basically fund other economies — in Europe, Asia or elsewhere. Our money supports endeavors that create jobs somewhere else, and taxes that people pay in other countries. That money goes to buying goods and services from foreign companies in different markets. All of this happens there instead of here.

This way of thinking could be called patriotic, but the fact is that buying and investing locally is really just simple financial logic. It is better not only for the state and the population of a country, but also for its investors.

*Kobi Shimna is the CEO of the Israeli IVC research company specialised in High-Tech and Venture Capital.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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