Aquaculture production increasing steadily
Proportion of fish for human consumption is anticipated to reach 53% in 2016 and continue the trend for future growth as rising middle classes provide an impetus for strong aquaculture productions.
Production from aquaculture continues to increase at a steady rate with a further 5% increase in total volume expected in 2016, driven by higher incomes and urbanization, and global consumption of fish, which is growing at a faster rate than global population, FAO's fish-trade site GLOBEFISH said.
It said per capita consumption of fish is rising each year by about 1%. In 2016, expected per capita consumption is 20.5kg per year, compared with 20.3kg in 2015 and 17.6kg a decade ago in 2006.
Another worth nothing, according to GLOBEFISH, is the proportion of fish produced by the aquaculture sector for human consumption, forecast to reach 53% this year, a trend that is seen to go up in the foreseeable future.
Growth in overall global fish production is expected to slow slightly this year, driven primarily by lower catches of major wild species such as Alaska pollock and anchoveta.
The total value of world trade in seafood products is expected to bounce back this year after a drop in 2015, to US$140 billion, representing a 4.4% increase, which is still well below the 2014 total of US$148.4 billion. "This return to growth in value terms is partly due to a stabilisation of the US dollar after a sharp increase versus multiple currencies in 2015, but it is also a consequence of improved prices for a number of highly traded seafood commodities", GLOBEFISH said.
Salmon prices have particularly been reaching extreme peaks in 2016. Supply constraints have also been considered as part of the reason for the price gains, together with demand growth.
Norway, one the world's major seafood producers, continued to set the pace in export revenue growth, driven by high prices for the key species of cod, salmon, mackerel and herring.
Norway's seafood exports are expected to increase 15% in US dollar terms to $10.4 billion this year compared with 2015, though it is lower than the 2014 figure due to the significant weakening of the Norwegian currency versus the US dollar since that year.
On the market side, growth is being driven in 2016 by a recovering EU market and ongoing development of smaller markets in East and Southeast Asia as well as in the Near East, GLOBEFISH said. "The latter are absorbing increasingly larger volumes of seafood, pointing to income growth and expansion of the middle class".
GLOBEFISH noted that major exporters are increasingly targeting these emerging markets, which are already competing with the traditional large markets even for premium seafood items such as salmon and shrimp.
Low or stable supplies
GLOBEFISH also said that low or stable supplies of many highly traded species can be expected to push global seafood prices up further in the medium term. Fish feed prices may also be driven up by the recent contraction of the anchoveta supply following the El Niño weather event. This, in turn, would increase costs for producers of farmed carnivorous species around the world, to be passed down the supply chain.
Other issues the seafood industry is keeping a close eye on, according to GLOBEFISH are:
-- Climate change and its impact on fish stocks, particularly with regard to the potential for changing water temperatures to prompt mass relocations of entire species.