Versatile farmed salmon fills needs and niches
By Joanne Friedrick, SeaFood Business contributing editor
19 October, 2012
People love salmon, at home or in a restaurant. Combined, both wild and farmed salmon traditionally take the No. 3 spot among U.S. consumers’ favorite species, behind only shrimp and tuna.
In 2011, Canada was the largest exporter of farmed salmon to the United States, offering more than 155 million pounds, followed by Chile, at more than 96 million pounds, Norway (about 36 million pounds), the Faroe Islands (nearly 32 million pounds) and the United Kingdom (about 31.5 million pounds). Members of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association produced about 80,000 metric tons (MT) of salmon in 2011, which has been consistent over the past couple of years, says Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the association.
Farmers in the province produce mostly Atlantic salmon, she says, but some also raise chinook (king salmon).
Over the past five or six years, Walling has noted an “we’ve seen the inability to meet demand in domestic and U.S. markets” as well as emerging ones like China, India and Korea.
With demand so high, she says, the logical next step would be expansion, but the industry still faces challenges in securing investment capital, in part because of Canada’s regulatory structure. Farmed salmon is currently regulated under the nation’s fisheries act.
“But we aren’t fishermen; we are definitely farmers,” says Walling, whose association is working with legislators in Canada on a federal aquaculture act. Once that is in place, she says, there should be more stability in the industry and consequently more confidence among potential investors.
“We’re working hard on that,” she adds, hoping the legislation will provide “a foundation for getting investment in the future.” The act impacts all of Canada and all farmed species, she says, which is requiring a high degree of cooperation among farmers in different geographic regions and across species. “We may be pursuing different markets, but we all want a good foundation for growth.”
Click here to read the full story which ran in the October issue of SeaFood Business >
19 October, 2012