It's no secret that the catches of fresh and saltwater fin and shellfish continue to decline. Meanwhile, demand for these products is soaring. A Nielsen report indicates the following increases in sales (as measured in weight) of frozen fish in the last twelve months:
- Salmon 22.2%
- Catfish 25.5%
- Mahi mahi 23.3%
To meet the demand, suppliers have turned to aquaculture. Fresh water fisheries and marine ‘farms' currently supply over 50% of the fish consumed in the US. By all accounts, this industry will continue to grow quickly especially since it has captured the attention of the venture capital industry. Aquacopia, a venture company predominantly interested in aquaculture, has invested in Snapperfarm and Oberon. And Marin Vekst II has raised $37 million in venture funds to spend during the next 5–7 years on cod farming.
Southern states like Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi are leading the way in catfish farming. And countless other firms are testing ways to feed captive fish. All of this activity points to a growth industry.
As interest in aquaculture grows, agencies may find opportunities in helping this young industry promote itself. Have there been any recent aquaculture developments in your market?[Sources: Lempert, Phil. "Facts, Figures & The Future." FMI and Nielsen, December 2008; Aquacopia blog]