Weekly Overview: US Looking to Expand Aquaculture in Northeast

5 January 2016, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - As the US looks to expand its aquaculture production, NOAA is focusing on the potential to grow aquaculture in the northeast of the country, which currently relies on its fishing industry.

While much of the coast line has examined the possibility of aquaculture, the NOAA Aquaculture Program in the Greater Atlantic Region Fisheries Office (GARFO) is more rapidly moving forward with implementing plans for offshore farming, including long line mussel farming.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Jeff Ray, commented: "NOAA Fisheries is most interested in what can be done to get local fishers back in an economically feasible enterprise. We also want to ensure a level playing field between fishermen in aquaculture and those in wild caught fisheries.”

If aquaculture is successful, and offshore farming grows at the anticipated rate, the climate of the industry could change, too. A few of these potential changes include less offloading facilities and more aquaculture processing stations.

Mr Ray explained that discussions will take place with many of the groups involved to address the possible environmental and social conflicts that may arise from the creation of offshore farms.

In market news, Thailand's Thai Union Group announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Rügen Fisch AG, a market leader in Germany for shelf-stable canned seafood.

Mr Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union commented on the acquisition: “Germany is one of the largest seafood markets and part of our strategic pillars for growth in Europe. Through this partnership with Rügen Fisch, Thai Union becomes a market leader in Germany and further strengthens its position as one of the European seafood leaders."

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of January 2016, subject to merger clearance in Germany.

In the UK, a new survey for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals that UK fish consumption is increasing.

The findings show that one in six people (17 per cent) in the UK are eating more fish and seafood than they were a year ago, with most of them (65 per cent) saying they have increased their fish intake because they are trying to eat more healthily.