Norwegian volume could reach 400,000 tonnes by 2015 Farmed cod heading for the mainstream Farmed cod is set to become a significant force in fish supply. In the UK, Aquascot will be producing 6,000 tonnes annually by 2007 and a new venture by Lakeland Smolt aims to treble this figure. KPMG Consulting in Norway says it is conceivable that Norwegian farmed cod production could reach 400,000 tonnes by 2015 ­ double that of its current annual quota for wild cod. The large Norwegian salmon corporations, including Fjord Seafood, Pan Fish and Nutreco, all see cod as the major success story of the next decade, yet many question the effect that farming will have on price. According to the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, the markets for Norwegian cod will initially be the UK and Norway, but it is expected that fish will also go into mainland Europe along the farmed salmon supply lines. The NSEC does not see a problem with increasing supply so rapidly, and maintains that prices will hold. "We expect to use farmed cod for the production of salt fish and stock fish as well as for fresh supplies and will look carefully at developing new markets as production expands," said a spokesman. World consumption of cod is around one million tonnes per year, down from four million in 1969. Yet, according to Grethe Rosenlund, of Nutreco, demand remains high. "There is enormous scope for farmed cod to fill the market gap left by the reduction in wild supplies," she explained. In the UK, demand for cod is in the order of 170,000 tonnes per year, of which only 40,000 is landed locally. "There is plenty of room for wild and farmed supplies on the market and the wild supply situation doesn't look as if it will improve," said Dennis Overton, of Aquascot. Demand by retailers for the farmed product is keen. According to Andrew Mallison of M&S, farmed Scottish cod has proved to be a successful, high quality product, despite being on a small scale. "Providing we can continue to source sustainably grown fish, we hope to increase the quantities available to our customers," he said. At Waitrose, Jeremy Langley agreed that aquaculture had an increasingly important role to play: "This is important in the current climate of declining wild fish stocks against increased consumption and we shall look at all sources of supply," he said. "We believe that farm reared Scottish cod will sit comfortably with our current Icelandic wild offer and have no doubt it will prove to be popular, but only if the quality and price is comparable with the wild caught fish." {{MEAT }}