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FAO 2012 Global Ground Fish Outlook

15 June 2012

Supply increases for groundfish in 2012, but less pronounced than in 2011, according to the FAO Global Food Outloook.

After a long-term decline in wild harvests, there have been some recent improvements and, in the short term, total groundfish supplies are expected to increase slightly in 2012. Supplies of farmed whitefish, including pangasius and tilapia, are not expected to grow substantially in the near future. Cod prices are expected to climb somewhat, while Alaska pollock prices will continue to decline.

Barents Sea cod stocks have improved significantly and are the largest in decades. The 2012 quota is up 8 percent over 2011, to 750 000 tonnes. At the same time, the haddock quota has increased by 5 percent, to 318 000 tonnes. However, other parts of the world have seen reductions in quotas. The 2012 quota for eastern Bering Sea Alaska pollock was reduced by 4 percent to 1.20 million tonnes, and hake resources in South America appear to be under strain.

Given the rich cod fisheries, Norwegian exporters had a good 2011, with groundfish exports reaching USD 1.9 billion, a new record. The biggest increase was in exports of frozen whole fish to China for further processing.

China’s share of the EU market for whitefish fillets has grown dramatically over the past decade, from 8 percent of cod supplies to the EU in 2001 to 30 percent in 2011. In the same period, China’s share of Alaska pollock fillets grew from 47 percent to 64 percent, and its share of the EU market for haddock fillets increased from just 3 percent to 35 percent.

A closed season for hake was introduced during the first quarter of 2012 in the Uruguay–Argentina Common Fishing Zone in order to protect juvenile stocks. In Peru, the government has imposed a strict management regime for common hake, under which the 2012 fishing season will end once the 8 600 tonne quota is reached.

Efforts to rebuild hoki stocks in New Zealand have had positive results, and enabled an 8 percent increase of the 2012 hoki quota to 130 000 tonnes. Hoki exports are mainly aimed at regional markets such as Australia and Japan.



June 2012

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