Positive news for groundfish and other whitefish in the coming year
The global supply of edible whitefish species, now including pangasius and tilapia, is over 10 million tonnes. This is close to the 12 million tonnes of cod and pollock produced some 25 years ago. The resurgence of whitefish is based on two key trends: the growth in the supply of cod and haddock, and the continued growth of the primary whitefish aquaculture species such as tilapia, pangasius and catfish.
Global cod supplies will increase 18% in 2010 over 2007, while pangasius and tilapia supplies will be up by 16%. This has added 817 000 tonnes to global whitefish supplies, the equivalent of an entirely new Alaska pollock fishery.
Meanwhile, Alaska pollock volumes will remain stable in 2010, as increases in Russia will offset the declines in Alaska. Alaska pollock catches in the USA will be 900 000 tonnes, while for Russia it is 1.65 million tonnes. Compared with 2007, when US landings were 1.4 million, the total for 2010 will only be 50 000 tonnes below the 2007 figure.
The simultaneous growth of both farmed tilapia and pangasius, together with the growth in wild harvests of cod and other groundfish is a trend that is likely to last several years into the future.
Price declines are becoming more than likely, as already happened in 2009.