Ample growth opportunities for Spanish corvina


Chris Dove, contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
September 26, 2011

Following a study by Spanish seafood associations APROMAR and FROM, national production of white sea bass (also known as corvina or croaker) will reach 5,000 metric tons by 2015.

With an estimated 2011 production volume of 3,250 metric tons in Spain and more than 5,300 metric tons in Europe, both organizations see ample growth opportunities as a national aquaculture species if supply is adjusted to meet potential demand through improved awareness and promotion.

The market study, titled “Proposals for promoting the consumption of sea bass in Spain,” gives a snapshot of white sea bass at the national level and was presented at the Aquaculture Technology Centre of Andalucía (CTAQUA), responsible for the design and execution of the research on the advice of Juan Manuel Fernández Aldana, one of the county’s foremost experts on the species.

Presenting the study, CTAQUA project manager María Avivar said since 2008 corvina has become “a well-known species for wholesalers, supermarkets and retailers, but end users’ knowledge is restricted to certain geographical areas of Andalucía, Canary Islands and coastal areas of Catalonia and Levante.”

Its taste, texture, white meat and lack of fish bones have transformed its possibilities, allowing versatility in all sorts of culinary preparations, making it a good candidate for diversification of the sector. In addition, it’s low in fat, high in omega-3s and has durable flesh. Detailing the study, Aldana noted that corvina is an aquaculture product “with great potential in Spain.” Results suggest potential for breeding and fattening farms to adapt to this new line of business.

“There is the possibility for sufficient supply of fingerlings from production sites, for species-specific feeding and production with handling characteristics similar to those of gilthead bream and sea bass,” said Aldana.

??Another issue is how to reach the final consumer. The study indicates that throughout the supply chain moving from big department stores through to wholesalers, retailers, caterers and restaurants to the final consumer, consumer expectations are going down, either through ignorance of the species or by “lack of custom.”

To overcome this difficulty, the investigators intend to build on the “Breeding from the Sea” brand. In a first phase, the strategy will be aimed at product positioning and increasing production to 5,000 metric tons by 2015. The proposed formats are 1 to 2 kilograms for supermarkets, wholesalers and homes; and 2 to 3 kilograms for catering sectors.?? In a second phase from 2015 to 2020, production would increase to 10,000 metric tons and thereafter efforts would focus on reaching homes and catering sectors by the transformation of the product.

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