Organic aquaculture production is expected to represent 1 per cent of global aquaculture production in 2015. (Photo: Terje Engoe)
Global organic aquaculture booming
Friday, March 12, 2010, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
Global organic aquaculture production has increased by 950 per cent growth in the last 20 to 25 years, according to Tarlochan Singh, chief of INFOFISH Technical Advisory Services at the recent Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) INFOFISH workshop series on organic aquaculture and marketing.
Expected annual production is expected to reach 500,000 tonnes in 2015, representing 1 per cent of global aquaculture production. As of 2008, organic aquaculture covers some 35 million ha.
The three main species raised are salmon, shrimp and carp, which comprise 31, 17 and 14 per cent, respectively, of global organic aquaculture production. Germany and Switzerland have recently also amped up their demand for organic pangasius.
|Tarlochan Singh, chief of INFOFISH Technical Advisory Services. (Photo: INFOFISH)
The market value for organic aquaculture is growing - particularly in the west, said Fatima Ferdouse, chief of INFOFISH Trade Promotion Division, reports Manila Bulletin.
The global organic food and beverage market is estimated to be worth USD 30 billion. Europe’s organic market is worth USD 20 billion and the US’s USD 12 billion to USD 20 billion.
Some of the standards followed by CFC/FAO INFOFISH are a decreased protein and fishmeal diet content; no inorganic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or herbicides; a lower energy input; a preference for natural medicines; and processing according to organic principles.
Although organic certification allows farmers to fetch a higher price for their products - about 25-30 per cent higher - and gain access to the international market, the standards and certification requirements are still difficult obstacles in marketing and production in developing countries. One of the reasons is that certifying bodies have standards that vary greatly by country, certifier and species, Singh explained.
Problems also include a narrow range of species, disadvantages for small-scale farmers, limited value adding in some nations and other marketing limitations.
Prevalent and important issues are still the organic feed used, traceability of feed ingredients, stocking densities or standing biomass and organic processing.
Senior Expert Niracha Wongchida at the Department of Fisheries (DoF) in Thailand stressed that organic integrity must be maintained throughout the animals’ life cycle.
“This is achieved by the use of appropriate techniques. As much as possible, limit the use of food additives and apply only mechanical, physical, and biological methods in processing,” she said.
INFOFISH in partnership with the CFC and FAO spearhead the promotion of organic aquaculture in Asia. In March 2007, these groups launched the USD 1.4-million three-year project CFC/FAO/INFOFISH Organic Aquaculture Project, which aimed to strengthen the production and marketing of organic, sustainable aquaculture products in the continent.
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By Natalia Real