Global tilapia supply on the mend
By SeafoodSource staff
08 June, 2009 -
After bad weather hampered China's tilapia production during the 2007-08 winter, the country is expected to farm 1.2 million metric tons of the fish by 2010, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Last year's production drop was caused by snow and ice storms and lower-than-usual temperatures in southern China. But the 2008-09 winter wasn't nearly as inclement.
As demand for tilapia continues to grow, so does global tilapia production, which is projected to reach 3 million metric tons by 2010.
U.S. imports of tilapia through March slipped from 103 million pounds in 2008 to 97 million pounds this year, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
U.S. imports of frozen tilapia fillets from China totaled about 55 million pounds through March, up 2 million pounds from the same three-month period last year, while U.S. imports of frozen whole tilapia from China reached 20 million pounds through March, down 6 million pounds from last year.
U.S. imports of fresh tilapia fillets from Ecuador, the United States' No. 1 supplier of fresh tilapia fillets, totaled 5.7 million pounds through March, down slightly from 2008's 5.8 million pounds.
While the drop in Chinese output caused prices of frozen tilapia fillets to increase steadily last year, prices are expected to hold firm in the coming months. In early June, frozen tilapia fillets from China were quoted in the high-USD 1 to mid-USD 2 range per pound, while fresh tilapia fillets stretched from USD 3.65 to USD 4.25.
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