Aquaculture is the fastest growing segment of the agri-food industry. Wild catch seafood plateaued in the 1990’s with aquaculture meeting all surplus demand since that time. Half of all seafood destined for human consumption currently comes from a farmed source with all incremental production estimated at 11M tons per year expected to come from aquaculture. With 80% of world fisheries either over or fully exploited, the fundamentals for growth in aquaculture are very compelling.
The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture-2012 prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) expects the fish sector to continue to see higher prices driven by the current demand trend, income increases and population growth.
Aquaculture is also one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein. If we look at the feed conversion ratio – how many pounds of feed it takes to produce a pound of protein – aquaculture is far more effective than raising beef, pork, or chicken. It takes 1.2 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of salmon, whereas it takes 8.7 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of beef.
Further, marine based aquaculture uses no fresh water, as opposed to land based animal production which uses very large amounts of water.
GSF’s strategy to acquire and develop projects in the Americas is primarily centered on addressing the enormous opportunity presented by the U.S. market:
- U.S. consumers spend an estimated $80B annually on fishery products and is, by volume, the third largest seafood market in the world (behind China and Japan)
- The U.S. is heavily dependent on foreign suppliers with over 85% of the seafood in the U.S. being imported (22% from China alone) – (FAO Fishstat, 2009)
Shifting demographics and population growth will create strong demand for seafood in the U.S. over the next two decades:
- The U.S. market will require an estimated additional 1.81B kg of seafood annually by 2020
- USDA is forecasting an increase in per-capita consumption largely driven by changing age factors (adults 50-64 eat 35% more seafood than the national average, and adults over 65 eat 53% more). By 2020 more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 60
- At 38 million strong and growing, the U.S. Hispanic population consumes seafood at a higher rate that the U.S .population as a whole. This is generally true of Asian populations as well.
- U.S. population will grow to more than 336 million by 2020.
GSF believes that the U.S. market will steadily increase its import dependence, as wild catch harvests continue to plateau or further decline, and main import sources (Asia in general and China in particular) shift from being seafood exporters to net importers. Further, GSF’s Dominican Republic operations are 2 hours away from Miami via air freight providing key freshness and shelf life advantages versus other imports.
General Industry Facts & Highlights
Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector in the world:
- An additional 40 million tons of additional aquaculture production is needed by 2030 to meet projected demand
- China is shifting from global seafood exporter to net seafood importer creating major new market dynamic in world seafood trade
- Aquaculture in the Mediterranean increased to 1.7 million tons by 2008, a 54.25% increase over the previous decade
- The EU has to import 65% of its seafood to meet consumption needs
- By 2013, two-thirds of the world’s middle class will reside in Asia, which will have a huge impact on the world’s seafood demand, a demand that will be met only through aquaculture
- Global seafood consumption has risen from around 22 lb per person per year in the 1960′s to nearly 38 lb. today
Fish convert feed to protein much more efficiently than warm-blooded mammals producing protein 8X more efficiently than beef