Report: EU imports 91% of farmed whitefish


Steven Hedlund

Published on
September 27, 2011

The European Union Fish Processors and Traders Association (AIPCE-CEP) on Wednesday published its annual FinFish Study, and in 2010 EU seafood imports increased slightly after falling in 2009 for the first time since 2002.

Last year, EU seafood imports reached 9.39 million metric tons, while EU seafood landings totaled 5.74 million metric tons and EU seafood exports totaled 2.12 million metric tons. As a result, the EU seafood supply remained flat in 2010 at 13.01 million metric tons representing per-capita consumption of 26 kilograms, according to the report.

Reliance on imports overall remained level at 62 percent, as did dependence on imports for wild whitefish at 89 percent and for farmed whitefish at 91 percent.

However, the wild whitefish supply grew slightly to 2.76 million metric tons in 2010 after trending downward since 2006. The reason? Quotas for whitefish species such as Baltic cod are on the rise after a precautionary approach to managing the fisheries early last decade, and the explosive growth of freshwater finfish production in Asia in early last decade has subsided.

Cod remained the EU’s favorite white whitefish species, with 961,000 metric tons consumed in 2010, up 4 percent from 2009. “In general, cod resources are in a much improved state throughout the Atlantic and Pacific, although there are still important fisheries needing more time to recover [such as] the North Sea and Grand Banks,” said the report.

Following cod was Alaska pollock at 732,000 metric tons, hake at 530,000 metric tons, saithe at 220,000 metric tons and haddock at 213,000 metric tons.

As for farmed whitefish, consumption, consisting mainly of pangasius, tilapia and Nile perch, reached 925,000 metric tons in 2010, up 1.6 percent from 2009

The AIPCE-CEP’s report, which has been published over the past 20 years, is largely based on statistics from Eurostat.

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