Salmon farming in an aquaculture farm. (Photo: Lionel Flageul/EC)
Farmed whitefish imports exceed 91 pc
Friday, September 30, 2011, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
The European Union (EU) Fish Processors and Traders Association (AIPCE-CEP) has released its latest Finfish Study. The study is used at EU and member state level to exemplify the need for imported seafood and especially whitefish to make added-value seafood in Europe.
According to the organization, major new species that have become available and subsequently key components of the European seafood trade include wild Alaska pollock and farmed Atlantic salmon and pangasius.
This diversification has come with many new challenges for processors, the group reported.
|Vietnamese pangasius fillet exports. (Graph: AIPCE-CEP)
Issues include those surrounding legality of supply, sustainability, ethical trading and other such matters. AIPCE-CEP said it has been pro-active in leading the dialogue on these issues and in taking steps to ensure that the EU’s supply base meets the expectations of stakeholders and consumers, while remaining consistent and price-competitive.
Key findings of the Finfish Study include the following points:
- Total market supply has grown by 1 per cent to 15.1 million tonnes;
- Imported share has grown to 9.4 million tonnes and equals 62 per cent;
- Whitefish import dependency has stayed at 89 per cent for wild capture and greater than 91 per cent for aquaculture products;
- EU catches fell by 2.3 per cent to 5.2 million tonnes;
- EU aquaculture has jumped by 5 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes;
- Exports have climbed by 8.8 per cent to 2.1 million tonnes;
- Cod is the main whitefish species, followed by Alaska pollock;
- Global quota trends are positive.
Much time and effort is spent by AIPCE-CEP members inspecting and working with processing plants in the EU and globally to meet the highest standards of food safety, nutritional value and consumer appeal, the association said.
AIPCE-CEP stressed that products sourced from outside of the EU have been proven to meet or surpass all relevant standards, to provide the market with what it wants, offering choices that would not otherwise be available to European consumers.
|Processed and non-processed salmon volume imported by EU from third countries in 2010. (Graph: AIPCE-CEP)
“By developing consumer confidence in all seafood products the market has been able to grow significantly despite the challenges of supply. EU sourced materials of both wild capture and aquaculture origins have considerable opportunity to contribute to the future of the European markets and the industry will welcome the development of EU fisheries so they can increase their share,” AIPCE-CEP wrote in the study.
It noted, however, that this does not have to replace products currently imported, as the scope for growth will call for additional resources.
“We believe that the EU and its industry has set standards for traceability and monitoring requirements that should be more widely adopted around the seafood world,” the study noted. “Cooperation with other major seafood consuming and trading regions is noted as one of the ambitions of the EU-Commission.”
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By Natalia Real