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Seafood Stable Source of Protein for Future

GLOBAL - According to a calculation from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), if the French consumer only consumed what its fishermen caught in European waters, it would be almost totally dependent on imports, writes Finnian OLuasa, Paris Office, Bord Bia Irish Food Board.

This is due to a self sufficiency ratio of just 38.6 per cent. That is France imports 61.4 per cent of seafood consumption.

However, a report from Cyclope suggests that the future of seafood appears is more positive.

Firstly, global seafood consumption is growing from 17.3kg per capita in 2009 to 18.8kg in 2011 and should reach 19.2kg in 2012. Global aquaculture production is also rising which leads to global seafood production projections rising from 145 million tonnes in 2009 to 164 million tonnes in 2020 according to a report from the FAO and OECD.

The Cyclope expert is of the opinion that these projections will be reached a few years earlier thanks to technical progress in aquaculture, which should decrease dependence on fish meals.

Progress in Aquaculture is also cited as part of the explanation for the absolute record in global seafood production in 2011.

Prudent management of whitefish stocks such as Norwegian Cod has also led to increased stocks and captures in wild fisheries for certain species.

Surprisingly, considering its importance as a source of protein, seafood has not been included in the FAO food price index.

However, this is about to change as the FAO intends to incorporate a Fish Price Index (FPI) into its overall food price index.

Compared to prices of terrestrial food, fish prices appear to be less volatile and less subject to price spikes, such as the 2008 and 2011 spikes in the price of cereals, dairy, and oils.

With prudent fisheries management, technological advances in aquaculture and rising consumer demand, seafood would appear to be a stable source of protein for the future.

Chris Haris

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