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Positive European Opportunities for Growing Finfish Supplies

Sustainability Economics +1 more

GLOBAL - A recent Globefish report highlights that the "Barents Sea cod season expected to be the best in more than 50 years" with Norway reporting that this year's cod season has been the best since 1947, writes Finnian OLuasa, Paris Office, Bord Bia Irish Food Board.

However, in the most recent version of the EU Fish Processors and Traders Associations (AIPCE) Finfish study 2012 it is also highlighted that since the EU 27 came to being, the proportion of imported products as part of the total supply for consumption has remained at around 63 per cent +/- 2 per cent. This demonstrates the continued huge potential of the EU market.

Indeed, the study mentions that the volume of the 7 major whitefish species (cod, haddock, hake, saithe, whiting, pollock and Atlantic redfish) caught by EU vessels come to a cumulative quota of around 400,000 tonnes, this represents less than half the EU consumption of Alaskan pollock, and less than the individual consumption of either hake or pangasius. As well as reliance on imports, the second key point put forward by AIPCE is that "the scope for EU fishermen to increase share in the market is considerable as there is an opportunity to contribute to its expansion."

Potential for salmon consumption in the EU market is equally positive as the report estimates the EU market uses 936,000 tonnes of imported salmon. Despite a decrease in salmon prices in 2012, due to increased production in Chile, prices are picking up again towards the end of the year, and are expected to remain positive in 2013, due to a possible stagnation of production in Norway.

Production of the major farmed whitefish species pangasius is also forecast to remain stable in 2012 as the worlds largest producer, Vietnam, reports that more efforts will be directed towards improving quality. Against this backdrop of supply dynamics for major finfish species, demand for seafood protein in Europe, although fluctuating from year to year, should remain generally positive.