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From 1950 to 2017, 608 species items—which include algae seaweeds—were recorded under the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Information System list of aquatic species that have been farmed in global aquaculture. By 1990 this dropped to 254. Seventeen years later, or as of 2017, the number of species items farmed grew by over 100 to 424, giving consumers much more choices of farmed aquatic species to avail of today.




Whiteleg shrimp, Atlantic salmon world's top seafood favorites


Consumers have so much more choices of farmed aquatic species to avail of today than over 17 years ago, according to the latest global aquaculture production statistics contained in a report on the "top 10 species groups in global aquaculture 2017" and released on July 1 by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.


In 17 years, the number of aquatic species farmed increased by over 100 from 254 in 1990 to 424 in 2017.


From 1950 to 2017, 608 species items—which include algae seaweeds—were recorded under the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Information System (ASFIS) list of aquatic species. They have been farmed in global aquaculture.


Among the species items, whiteleg shrimp was at the top in terms of value, followed by Atlantic salmon. This means these are the two major international seafood commodities favoured by consumers worldwide.


Among aquaculture species groups, however, carps are the unchallenged No. 1 in value and even in terms of quantity.


The group "carps, barbels and other cyprinids" were farmed in 92 countries with total production of 28 million tonnes (worth US$61 billion), accounting for a quarter of world aquaculture in terms of both quantity and value.


China and India are the two major carp-producing countries, accounting for 71% and 14% of world carp aquaculture production tonnage, respectively, in 2017.


Staple fish


As per FAO, 38 carp species items were farmed worldwide in 2017, and they are primarily staple fish for domestic consumption.


Tilapias, though, are the most popular aquaculture species group as they are farmed in 127 countries as of 2017. Major tilapia-farming countries include China (27% of world tilapia aquaculture tonnage in 2017), Indonesia (22%), Egypt (16%), Bangladesh (5.7%), Brazil (4.9%), the Philippines (4.6%) and Vietnam (4%).


Tilapias are No. 4 in terms of value ($11 billion), while catfishes are No. 5 ($10.6 billion).


The FAO statistics record 18 tilapia species items farmed worldwide in 2017, and Nile tilapia (No. 8 species item in terms of value) is the dominant species in the group, with production totalling 4.1 million tonnes. The figure is an underestimate because the 1.3 million tonnes production in 2017 accounted under "Tilapia nei" is mostly Nile tilapia.


On the other hand, there were27 catfish species items farmed in 86 countries in 2017, including pangasius catfishes, which constitute 51% of world catfish aquaculture tonnage, and Clarias catfishes (24%).


Major catfish-farming countries include Vietmam (24% of world tonnage), Indonesia (23%), China (20%), India (9.9%), Bangladesh (9.4%), Nigeria (3.5%) and the US (2.7%).


As per the FAO report, China is the largest aquaculture producer, accounting for 57% of world aquaculture production in 2017 by live weight quantity and 60% by farmgate value.




Fish meal production slows in face of competition from soy meal


Global production and exports of fish meal, a key ingredient in the manufacture of feed for farm-raised fish, are expected to rise only slightly in marketing year 2019-20 as it continues to face competition from soy meal as an alternative and cheaper protein source.


According to a June report from the US Department of Agriculture, Peru remains as the largest producer of fish meal, accounting for 23% of world production. It is also the leading exporter, followed by the European Union, Vietnam and China. But according o GLOBEFISH (the fish-trade site of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation), as of 2018 Chile ranked as the second-largest exporter of fish meal, while Denmark ranked third.


Peru's exports for 2019-20 is expected to rise by 10,000 tonnes to 1.1 million tonnes, although production is expected to decrease 25% to just 890,000 tonnes compared with the previous year, the USDA report said.


GLOBEFISH said that in calendar year 2018, Peru exported 1.03 million tonnes of fishmeal, about 72% more than in 2017.


China, meanwhile, is the world's largest consumer and importer of fish meal. The USDA forecasts that imports will rise 110,000 tonnes to 1.4 million tonnes in 2019-20.


In GLOBEFISH's record, Chinese imports of fishmeal totalled 1.47 million tonnes in 2018, about 7% less than 2017, but still more than the 10-year average. The second-largest importer of fish meal is Japan, followed by Norway.


The US, which produces 5% of the world's fish meal, exports 58% of its production.




Government financial aid urged for Maine's lobster industry



Four legislators from Maine, USA, urged the US Department of Agriculture to include significant funding for Maine's lobster industry as the Department finalises its aid package for agricultural producers affected by China's retaliatory tariffs.


 "We write to ask that as the Department of Agriculture finalizes Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program awards under its aid package for producers affected by trade disruption, you allocate significant ATP funding for the Maine lobster industry," wrote the Maine Delegation composed of Senators Angus King and Susan Collins and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden in a letter dated July 11.


"Retaliatory tariffs have caused a very significant export market for Maine lobster–China–to all but disappear. ATP funding will help to develop new export markets for Maine lobster, decreasing the blow of Chinese tariffs on an iconic American industry", they added.


The letter marks the Delegation's latest efforts to advocate for the lobster industry in trade negotiations. In February, the Maine Delegation called on US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to make the lobster industry a priority in the ongoing trade negotiations with China.


In June 2018, the delegation hosted a meeting between top US Trade Representative (USTR) officials and members of the Maine Lobster Dealers' Association (MLDA) to discuss the impact of federal trade policies on the state's lobster industry.


Additionally, the Delegation's June letter noted that the trade war is only one of the challenges facing this vital Maine industry. Specifically, the Delegation referenced an impending bait shortage and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's proposed large whale take reduction efforts, which will have a significant impact on Maine lobstermen.


In May, the Delegation wrote a letter urging NOAA leadership to ensure that the science they are relying on is sound and comprehensive, the risk reduction standards are equitable across US and Canadian jurisdictions, and the industry is included and consulted throughout the decision-making process.


Maine's lobster industry generates an economic impact of around $1.5 billion each year.




Seafood entry line refusals by US in June at historic low 


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported refusing a total of just 55 seafood entry lines in June. This represents, by a significant margin, the lowest monthly total of seafood entry line refusals for any month going back to October 2001, the first month for which data are reported on the FDA's website.


Because the last seafood entry line refusal reported for the month was June 27th, it is possible that this total will be subsequently increased by any additional entry line refusals that took place on June 28, 29 and 30. However, any upward revision is likely to be limited and is unlikely to change the fact that June 2019 represented an extremely aberrational month in terms of the FDA's regulation of imported seafood.


Nevertheless, the FDA reported that three out of the 55 (5.5%) total seafood entry line refusals were of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics.


Through the first half of the year, the FDA has refused a total of 47 entry lines of shrimp for reasons related to veterinary drug residues, compared with 53 all of last year (and 55 in all of 2017). As summarised in the table below, the number of shrimp entry line refusals this year exceeds the annual refusals by the FDA reported between 2002 and 2006:


The three shrimp entry lines refused in June for veterinary drug residues were from two different exporters in the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.


Shrimp imports from the United Arab Emirates now account for 14 of the 47 shrimp entry lines refused for reasons related to banned antibiotics this year. Only India, which is responsible for 26 of the remaining 33 shrimp entry lines refused for this reason, accounts for more. Yet, through the first four months of this year, the US only imported 126,245 pounds of frozen, non-breaded shrimp from the United Arab Emirates with a declared commercial value of $762,660.


In contrast, the US imported 164.5 million pounds of frozen, non-breaded shrimp from India, worth $637.1 million, through the first third of this year. Accordingly, the shrimp entry line refusals for United Arab Emirates appear to account for a substantial portion of overall shrimp imports from that country.


The entry line refusal of shrimp from Venezuela is the first such refusal since 2017 and only the second such refusal since 2008. Low-priced shrimp imports from Venezuela have been increasing rapidly this year, as the volume of frozen, non-breaded shrimp imports from that country were 43.2% higher over the first four months of this year compared with the same time period in 2018, while the overall value of these shrimp imports had only increased by 18.3%.


Venezuela is now the 11th-largest supplier of frozen, non-breaded shrimp to the US market, having already shipped 3.4 million pounds in 2019. —Southern Shrimp Alliance

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