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Farmed Fish and Canada's Other Opportunity

by the Fish Site Editor
15 September 2009, at 1:00am

CANADA - The seafood industry is rife with news; recent reports, new data and information, and we see more opportunity arising in the aquaculture fields especially.

The industry is expanding daily, yet we see Canada, with great potential, not taking advantage of opportunities that are presenting themselves. Canada has vast resources and abilities, but due to the anti-salmon farming lobby, wild salmon industry supporters and some misguided perceptions, these opportunities may not be realized.

Analysis

The most predominate issues in the wild segment seem to be alarming and filled with gloom. In some of the latest figures released we see aquaculture now providing 50% of our seafood needs, are we actually moving more toward the prediction that all seafood will be from aquaculture by the year 2048? This opinion varies by whose report you read and what data you tend to believe. One thing is without question, we are consuming more fish from aquaculture methods, both land and sea based, than ever before.

There are many environmental issues that our world fisheries face, these will continue to alter our normal ways of catching fish and how much the seas will yield. The prospects of adjustments seem quite daunting. As we continue to try to establish these corrective measures it seems quite logical to expand our use of aquaculture in different regions and certainly with more species than currently being farmed. There are research projects worldwide doing just that, but will it be enough and will it be in time?

Canada's industry of wild salmon have supplied and continue to supply great products. But as we are seeing evidence of less wild returning to spawn, for what ever reason, should it not be a priority to offset this industry with projects that will provide volumes of farmed and sustainable fish. There is a good argument to be made that the Canadians have had salmon aquaculture for years, their hatcheries providing fish for stocking programs bear this out.

Salmon farming is expensive, and uses vast amounts of wild fish to feed these farmed salmon, it takes two years for the fish to grow out to harvest size. So the effort to introduce farmed salmon into Canadian waters is not the answer. Other currently farmed species that are less expensive to produce, and their demand grows daily. This aquaculture industry can offer new jobs, economic offsets for the wild salmon industry and provide the supply chain with lower cost fish.

Research statistics now show that the carnivorous, dark meat, fish species are in less demand by worldwide consumers. At the same time the data shows us that white fish demand is increasing. The direction seems very clear.

the Fish Site Editor

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