Britain’s major seafood supplier Young’s Bluecrest has hailed the birth of farmed cod as a major new food supply industry, anticipating it will reach some 200,000 tonnes by 2013.
That level would represent a quarter of the volumes delivered through the wild catch globally.
Young’s deputy chief executive Mike Parker said volumes from Norway and Johnson Seafarms in Shetland would reach 10-20,000 tonnes in the near term.
Said Parker: “The industry is optimistic over the prospects and people are getting very interested. The annual wild catch is some 850,000 tonnes, so farmed cod is set to be a very significant contributor to supply.”
Parker also stressed that the quality of farmed cod was proving impressive, and he said it would most likely follow a premium route, as farming conditions could be controlled to guarantee quality. The economics added up, he said,
The market for top-quality fresh supply had been established by flying in fish from Iceland, and farmed cod would follow this trend, with pricing reflecting this.
“However, in the longer term, as cod farming becomes more efficient and costs fall, it may be that farmed cod will become more mainstream,” said Parker.
Young’s itself has no farmed cod products at present but it is expecting to introduce lines in the next 12 months.
“We have good relations with the farmers in Norway and Scotland,” he said.
Parker said aquaculture was now providing 25% of world seafood, with much of this carp and tilapia, species that are not yet popular in Britain.
Kit Davies