Wanted: Twice the amount of seafood
In the next decade, experts believe doubling current seafood production levels will be necessary to meet the demand of a growing global population. Yesterday, a panel of experts reviewed the highlights of the GOAL 2011 conference in Santiago, Chile, which looked at responsible ways to address pressing production issues.
The infectious salmon anemia (ISA) epidemic in Chile was a major subject at GOAL 2011. José Ramón Gutierrez of Multiexport Foods said the primary reason for the systemic failure in Chile had to do with the outdated production model the country was using.
The flu-like ISA virus has multiple strains, said John Forester of Forester Consulting. It was the spread of this virus that devastated the production of seafood in Chile, severely affecting world trade. “Government agencies should try to understand and control the size and scale of the industry and impose biosecurity rules,” to prevent this from happening again, Forester said.
“In Chile, we started overproducing, extended environmental limits and suffered from it,” Michael Tlusty of the New England Aquarium said. For that reason, Tlusty noted the importance of producing within environmental limits. Tlusty also noted that space, fresh water, disease control and climate change are just some of the environmental issues to consider when looking to double production needs in the next 10 years.
Investment will be needed for such growth. As a relatively young and fragmented market, the seafood industry presents opportunities to investors looking to build a solid market presence.
“Investors are interested,” said Jeff Fort of Global Aquaculture Alliance, adding that investors should look to the pork and beef industries to provide a good business guide for the seafood market.
GOAL 2012 is slated to expand on these objectives and will be held next October in Bangkok, Thailand.