A new FAO report says global per-capita fish consumption has risen to above 20 kilogrammes a year for the first time, thanks to stronger aquaculture supply and firm demand, record hauls for some key species and reduced wastage.
Global aquaculture supply rises
Stronger aquaculture supply and firm demand, record hauls for some key species and reduced wastage have resulted in a rise in global per-capita fish consumption to above 20 kilogrammes a year for the first time, a new FAO report said.
Despite notable progress in some areas, however, the state of the world's marine resources has not improved, as almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now fished at biologically unsustainable levels, triple the level of 1974, according to the latest edition of the UN agency's The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA).
Global total capture fishery production in 2014 was 93.4 million tonnes, including output from inland waters, up slightly over the previous two years. Alaska pollock was the top species, replacing anchoveta for the first time since 1998 and offering evidence that effective resource management practices have worked well. Record catches for four highly valuable groups—tunas, lobsters, shrimps and cephalopods—were reported in 2014.
Globally, fish provided 6.7% of all protein consumed by humans, offering a rich source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron. Some 57 million people were engaged in the primary fish production sectors, a third of them in aquaculture.
That the global supply of fish for human consumption has outpaced population growth in the past five decades is due in large measure to growth in aquaculture (preliminary estimates suggest per capita intakes higher than 20 kilogrammes, double the level of the 1960s).
The aquaculture sector's global production rose to 73.8 million tonnes in 2014, a third of which comprised molluscs, crustaceans and other non-fish animals. Importantly in terms of both food security and environmental sustainability, about half of the world's aquaculture production of animals - often shellfish and carp - and plants - including seaweeds and microalgae - came from non-fed species.
While China remains the leading nation for aquaculture, it is expanding even faster elsewhere, the report notes. In Nigeria, aquaculture output is up almost 20-fold over the past two decades, and all of sub-Saharan Africa is not far behind. Chile and Indonesia have also posted remarkable growth, as have Norway and Vietnam—now the world's No. 2 and No. 3 fish exporters.
Aquaculture's strengths and challenges are also influencing what fish end up on our plates. The report shows that, measured as a share of world trade in value terms, salmon and trout are now the largest single commodity, an honor that for decades belonged to shrimp.
'FISH NOT RUNNING OUT'
New Zealand fisheries 'sustainable'
New Zealand fisheries have a great potential for the future, the chief executive of Seafood New Zealand said.
Tim Pankhurst, speaking at the Marine Societies of New Zealand and Australia conference at Victoria University of Wellington, said, "We are not going to run out of fish."
"We have a seafood sector that is in good heart. Our stocks are sustainable—it's not just the fishing industry saying that, the science supports it, and the world wants what we produce—and aquaculture is expanding", he told more than 350 marine scientists from both countries.
The New Zealand government has set an ambitious target of doubling export returns by 2025, Pankhurst said. "We are well on track to achieving that, with seafood exports reaching a record high of $1.8 billion in the year to April—an 11.4 per cent increase on the previous year."
Achieving the Government's target will rely on adding value to the fish landed by being ahead of the game in understanding what's happening in the global marketplace.
"Consumers globally are increasingly being influenced by factors such as health benefits, food safety and ethical and environmental credentials of the food they are purchasing.
"The industry has been through some rough water this year, with the release out of Auckland University of a flawed report estimating greatly inflated historical catch that has been uncritically reported. The report's findings have been disputed by industry and Government and its methodology is still a mystery, Pankhurst says.
"But there is much to celebrate about the Quota Management System, 30 years old this year, which has placed us among the best world's fisheries management systems.
"That system, far sighted when it was introduced in 1986, ended the race to fish in favour of property rights over set quota that can be closely monitored.
"There is no argument from industry that our fisheries management could be further enhanced to meet present and future challenges, including better management of non-target species.
"We are keen to enter dialogue with Government around this," Pankhurst said.
Newly emergent shrimp disease identified
A newly emerging disease of cultivated shrimp in Asia has been identified.
Hepatopancreatic microsporidiosis (HPM), according to a recent posting on the website of Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, can be associated with severe growth retardation that may not be clearly evident until the second month of culture.
The disease may even cause low continuous mortality in the case of very severe infections, the article added.
The article presented a new method for detecting the cause of the disease, enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP). "Due to the urgency in stemming losses to HPM, we have decided to release this method for free, non-commercial use to the global shrimp farming community", the nine-man team of researchers, which posted the article, said.
You may email Centex Shrimp at email@example.com.
'SMALL BUT EXCELLENT'
Irish seafood sector aims for high quality
Ireland may account for a just small amount of the global seafood industry, but it is looking to be a global leader in high-quality, sustainably produced seafood and expand its €1-billion (US$1.1-billion) annual contribution to the economy.
According to a new report released by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish seafood industry employs more than 11,000 workers, directly and indirectly, and plays an important role in supporting rural communities. IBM is the state agency responsible for developing the Irish marine fishing and aquaculture industries.
"Seafood is on trend globally. Although Ireland is a small player on the international stage, our industry vision for Ireland is to be the international leader in high-value differentiated seafood products that satisfy growing domestic and international demand for nutritious, safe, responsibly and sustainably produced food", said BIM chief executive Tara McCarthy.
"When you consider that fish landings and seafood farming contribute nearly €500m alone before any value is added through processing and innovation, we have an exciting opportunity for considerable growth," she added.
Mary Shelman, former director of the Harvard Business School agribusiness programme, said Ireland must focus on value rather than volume to set itself apart internationally.
"Irish seafood is an excellent product but its true value is not appreciated," she said.
The report said Irish seafood exports are up 7% to €564 million. Its most valuable species in terms of volume is Atlantic mackerel at 88,709 tonnes worth €49 million, while its most valuable species in value is Dublin Bay prawns at 8,282 tonnes worth €49 million.
Vietnam aquaculture output up 1.6% in June
Vietnamese aquaculture production in June is estimated to have reached 435,000 tonnes, up 1.6% year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
The cumulative figure to June reached 1.584 million tonnes, up 0.6% year-on-year.
The pangasius farming area shrank due to diseases and unstable demand. In January-June, the area for pangasius farming in the Mekong Delta is estimated at 3,757 hectares, down 5.5% year-on-year while the output reached 526,683 tonne, equal to the same period last year. Some main producing provinces reported reduction in pangasius yield including Vinh Long 38,000 tonnes (-4%), Ben Tre 82,575 tonnes (-12%), An Giang 121,437 tonnes (-7%) and Dong Thap 184,004 tonnes (-1%).
Production of brackishwater shrimp in the Mekong Delta during the first half of the year reported year-on-year reduction due to unfavourable weather and diseases. The decline led to a rise in raw shrimp price and lack of raw material for processing and exporting.
In the same period, the farming area of black tiger shrimp rose compared with the same period last year: black tiger area: 540,451 ha (+1.8%), output: 103,244 tonnes (equal to the same period last year); whiteleg shrimp area: 31,480 ha (-10%), output: 59,054 MT (-11%).
US restaurant chain commits to BAP
Brinker International Inc., one of the world's leading casual-dining restaurant companies, has committed to source Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) products as part of its sustainable seafood procurement policy, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) said.
"We are leading the way to higher sustainability standards through our work with the GAA, whose certification programme has become one of the most influential forces in sustainably farmed seafood. All of our farm-raised seafood comes from certified, sustainable farms. We work closely with GAA to ensure our farmed seafood is sourced from BAP-certified facilities," Charlie Lousignont, senior vice president of supply chain management at Brinker International, said.
Chris Keller, BAP market development manager, for his part, remarked, "GAA is very happy to add Brinker International to the growing list of restaurant companies that require BAP product as its benchmark. Brinker International is taking a very proactive approach to completing this task, and we are proud to help the company achieve its goal".
Founded in 1975, US-based Brinker International owns, operates or franchises 1,647 restaurants under the brands Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy.
SECURES DEBT FINANCING
Sino Agro Food prepares for IPO
Sino Agro Food Inc. has announced the completion of all Stage 1 Hong Kong and China legal and commercial documents related to the transfer of aquaculture assets to its Hong Kong-based Tri-Way Industries subsidiary, in preparation for its carve-out and subsequent initial public offering.
The assets include Prawn Farms 1 through 4 of the Zhongshan Aquaculture MegaFarm, and the Zhongshan A Power Prawn Culture Farms Development Co. Ltd. (ZSAPP), which operate a hatchery and nursery for prawns and shrimp.
In the interim, the company has made significant inroads toward securing debt financing for working capital for the Tri-Way project.
Thai Union buys into Canadian lobster processor
Leading seafood supplier Thai Union Group (TU) said on July 5 that it would acquire a majority stake in Canadian lobster processor Les Pecheries de Chez Nous (Chez Nous).
Francois "Frankie" Benoit, the existing owner and CEO of Chez Nous, will retain a minority share. The company recorded sales of around CAD50 million (US$38.5 million) in 2015.
Chez Nous, based in New Brunswick, Canada has direct relationships with fishermen in Canada and Maine in the northeastern US. It has a processing facility strategically located at the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and is investing in a live lobster holding facility. It employs a small full-time office staff managing operations and accounting, and up to 200 seasonal workers during the lobster harvest.
The deal comes after Thai Union's subsidiary Tri-Union Frozen Products Inc., doing business as Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods, acquired Orion Seafood International in 2015, making it one of the largest sellers of North Atlantic lobster in the US.
Thai Union said that with the acquisition of Chez Nous, it secures an even stronger integration footprint in the North Atlantic lobster category.
The acquisition also gives Thai Union Group companies enhanced traceability and quality control, and expanded product offerings into specialty grades and packs, it added.
"Thai Union's vertical integration has been a key to our division's success in the shrimp, tuna, and pasteurised-crab categories", said Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods President and CEO Bryan Rosenberg. "We are excited about the growth possibilities of a similar relationship in North Atlantic lobster. The partnership between Thai Union and Chez Nous will bring additional expertise and transparency to our customers."
Chez Nous CEO Frankie Benoit said the new partnership with Thai Union "is an exciting next step for Les Pecheries de Chez Nous. We have recently expanded our facilities and look forward to further growing the business with the opportunities that Thai Union's global network will provide."
A WORLD'S FIRST
Peruvian firm offers 4-star BAP trout
The Global Aquaculture Alliance's Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) division has lauded Peruvian Andean Trout SAC for being the world's first company to be able to offer "four-star" trout based on its certification.
Earlier the company got BAP certification for its processing plant in June. Peruvian Andean Trout's farm and hatchery were also recently BAP-certified. Located at the Peruvian Andes, all three facilities graduated from the iBAP programme, a precursor to full BAP certification, early this year.
Peruvian Andean Trout sources feed from BAP-certified feed mills owned by EWOS Chile Alimentos Ltda. and Biomar Chile S.A., completing its four-star BAP status.
"Guided by general manager Jose Ernesto Munoz, the company has followed through with its responsible aquaculture commitment," said Marcos Moya, BAP's global business development manager. "We are so excited to see the completion of the company's hard but very productive work that resulted in an excellent performance in the audit resulting in BAP certification."