May 10, 2019


Aquaculture to outpace wild-caught fish production


Aquaculture production will surpass that of wild-catch seafood in 2020, as the latter has become flat, while aquaculture keeps growing, according to a prognosis by the agricultural lender Rabobank.


"We expect future growth in seafood to continue to come from aquaculture, which will be driven by improved genetics, new husbandry technologies, innovations in aquafeed, and the switch to more efficient and intensive farming technologies", the bank's research department (RaboResearch) said in a May feature.


It said further growth of farmed seafood consumption would support the seafood trade, which has grown by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4% from 2012 to 2017 to reach an estimated US$153 billion.


In 2020, aquaculture production is expected to exceed 90,000 tonnes, although growth is expected to slow down compared with the last decade.


Whitefish, which consists of farmed and wild-caught species, has the largest traded volumes, but a value growth in global seafood trade was more marked than a volume growth, and was mainly driven by the high value of the salmon and crustacean trade.


In the bank's recently published World Seafood Map, it is shown that the largest trade flow, in value terms, is from Norway to the EU, mainly consisting of salmon and some whitefish. This is followed by trade flows of salmon and crustaceans from Canada and flows of whitefish and crustaceans from China to the US.


China biggest seafood exporter


In both volume and value terms, China remains as the biggest exporter of seafood, followed by Norway. Both countries have added more than $2 billion to their seafood exports in the last five years (2012 to 2017). However, there was only a minor increase in the exported volumes.


China also remains as the largest consumer of fishmeal and fish oils, which are supplied mainly by Peru.


Vietnam has overtaken Thailand in seafood exports and now ranks as the third-biggest seafood exporter in value terms. India has also made a big jump from the eighth to fourth place, driven by increasing shrimp exports. Ranking No. 5 is the EU.


Meanwhile, global seafood imports' value is increasing faster than volume, Rabobank noted. The Top 5 countries in global seafood imports, both in value and volume terms, have not changed since 2012, with the EU as the largest importer of fish and shellfish.


The second-largest seafood importer is the US, followed by Japan, China and South Korea.


Rabobank said China could overtake Japan in the near future as the current African swine fever situation is leading to increased seafood consumption.