FAO: Fishery production to grow 2.1% in 2012


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 3, 2012

In the Food and Agriculture Organization’s food outlook report, published twice a year, the organization said sustained demand for fish and fishery products is boosting aquaculture production worldwide and pushing prices higher, despite consumer resistance in some southern European markets.

Overall production for the year is expected to grow by 2.1 percent to 157.3 million metric tons, due to a 5.8 percent increase in aquaculture output that will more than offset a small decline in capture fisheries following limitations on catches of small pelagic species in the Pacific.

Behind the strong demand for fish lies an increase in average per capita food fish consumption, which grew by 1.1 percent in 2011 and is expected to rise by a further 2.6 percent in 2012, reaching 19.2 kilograms per year. Most of this increase is being met by fish from aquaculture production, but with less fish used for feed during 2012, capture fisheries will also contribute to the growth in fish consumption as food.

International trade is expected to increase by 9.4 percent in 2012, implying a slowing down compared with trade growth in 2011.

Prices have increased over the last three quarters, especially for captured species such as tuna, herring, mackerel and squid. Farmed fish prices have been mixed, salmon is down from 2011, while lower production of farmed shrimp has boosted shrimp prices. The FAO Fish Price Index was up 12.4 percent last year and is expected to increase further.

In addition, FAO said world shrimp production fell by 20 percent — 2.5 million metric tons — in 2011 because of supply shortfalls in Asia. However, with the new Asian 2012 season starting in April and May, supply is forecast to recover and prices to soften and the market should stay firm.

Tuna and groundfish supplies are also expected to increase, with demand for the former, including skipjack and yellowfin, declining due to high prices. Supplies of farmed whitefish, including pangasius and tilapia are not expected to see substantial growth in the near future. Cod prices are expected to climb somewhat, while Alaska pollock prices will continue to decline.

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