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Aquaculture Outlook Report - October 2006


By U.S.D.A., Economic Research Service - This article is an extract from the October 2006: Aquaculture Outlook Report, highlighting Global Aquaculture Industry data.

Aquaculture Outlook Report - October 2006 - By U.S.D.A., Economic Research Service - This article is an extract from the October 2006: Aquaculture Outlook Report, highlighting Global Aquaculture Industry data. USDA Economic Research Service

Domestic Aquaculture Competing Worldwide

Domestic seafood consumption in 2006 is likely to see a higher percentage of overall consumption from foreign sources, a trend that has been going on for some time. These imports stem in large part from foreign aquaculture production. Almost all foreign countries are in the same situation as the United States, with limited ways to increase their wild harvest fishing industry, so they are expanding their aquacultural production.

The continued growth of the Atlantic salmon and tilapia industries provides good examples of how farm-raised product is being used in rapidly expanding parts of the U.S. seafood industry. In both these industries almost all the domestic production and all the foreign imports come from farmed production. The questions for the U.S. aquaculture industry are how best to compete with growing foreign production and how to determine which market segments are most favorable for domestic producers.

The current economic outlook for U.S. aquacultural producers for the remainder of 2006 and into 2007 is clouded by the wide swings in energy prices over the last several weeks. After rapidly increasing earlier in the year, energy prices are falling, but remain above year-earlier levels. The domestic economic forecast is for relatively steady growth in the real Gross Domestic Product through the remainder of 2006, and for slowed-but-steady growth in 2007.

Real per capita disposable income is expected to be stronger in the second half of 2006 and to continue to grow at a relatively strong rate in 2007. Higher real disposable income, coupled with lower fuel prices, would have a positive impact on the restaurant and foodservice sector. This is critical to the aquaculture industry and the seafood industry overall, as they make a larger percentage of their sales through the restaurant and foodservice sector than the suppliers of traditional livestock and poultry products.

U.S. beef, pork, and poultry industries are all forecast to have increased production in 2006 and 2007. In the wholesale market, the major price series for beef and pork are forecast to be lower in 2006 and to fall again in 2007. For the domestic poultry industry, overall prices are expected to be lower in 2006 and to increase slightly in 2007. These forecasts of increasing production and lower prices for the major livestock and poultry protein sources mean strong competition for domestic and imported aquaculture products.

This is the last issue of Aquaculture Outlook. Following this report, all aquaculture material will be included, when timely information is available, in the monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook. A monthly report will give readers a more current analysis of changing situations in the aquaculture industry. You can subscribe to Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (which includes Aquaculture Outlook) at:

In October 2 2006, the National Agricultural Statistics Service released the results of the 2005 Census of Aquaculture. This report will update the material contained in the 1998 Census of Aquaculture. The data in the report will cover production method, water source, sales, distribution and farm labor. The report covers food fish mollusks, crustaceans, ornamental fish baitfish, and sport fish.

Domestic: Catfish Sales Down, but Prices Rise

Catfish sales have declined for the third consecutive year, but have again been partially offset by higher prices. In 2006, sales by growers to processors are expected to total between 550 and 565 million pounds, down from 2005 by 6 to 8 percent. Sales over the first 8 months of 2006 have been 380 million pounds, down 7.8 percent from the same period in 2005.

Catfish processor sales through August 2006 were also lower, at just under 200 million pounds, down 3 percent from the same period in 2005. Unlike in previous years, the lower sales at the processing level have resulted in a decrease in the inventory held by catfish processors. As of the end of August 2006, processor-held inventories were 11.1 million pounds, about 1.8 million pounds (14 percent) lower than a year earlier.


For more information view the full Aquaculture Outlook Report - October 2006 (pdf)

October 2006