June 29, 2019


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.