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Aquaculture Gains Major Fish Supply Market Share, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that fish farming (aquaculture) exceeded the production of beef for the first time in 2011.  As of late 2015, global consumption of farmed fish surpassed consumption of fish caught in the wild.  By 2030, fish consumption is expected to increase to 201 million metric tons.
Mergers and acquisitions of fish growers and feed suppliers is on the rise.  Grain trader and meat supplier Cargill, Inc. made headlines when it acquired EWOS Holding AS, a Norwegian salmon-feed business, for $1.5 billion.  Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. bought Cermaq ASA, a salmon farming company, for $1.4 billion while SHV Holdings NV spent $4 billion to acquire Dutch salmon-feed supplier Nutreco NV.
China is a major farm-raised producer of species such as sea bass, carp, tilapia and sea bream.  It accounts for a major share of global aquaculture.
The timing of booming aquaculture couldn’t be better.  As wild fish stocks are depleting (some analysts estimate that at least 32% of global fish stocks are in need of rebuilding), fish raised in tanks and ponds, or within nets or cages in the wild, can actually increase the world’s supply of fish.  However, some environmentalists have long been against the practice.  Concerns about farmed fish include farm-borne diseases, waste and parasites, in addition to pollution from water runoff.  Aquaculture farmers have made progress in recent years to increase cleanliness in tanks and enclosures, and feeding practices now include pellets made from algae and other vegetable matter instead of fish meal.
SalMar ASA, a major salmon producer based in Norway, launched a seaborne, 220-foot tall, 5,600 metric ton farming platform in 2018.  Designed along the lines of an offshore oil rig, the platform allows seawater to flow through a holding area where the fish grow.  The area is bounded by nets to hold the fish and to protect them from sharks.  Another company, Kampachi Farms, LLC, is experimenting with similar farming in what the firm calls the Velella Project, which consists of a 132-cubic-meter brass netted aquapod with a towing/umbilical line to the S/V Machias, a 65-foot schooner.  Testing of the project found a 98% fish survival rate.
Danish firm Atlantic Sapphire A/S is betting on indoor fish farming where water temperature and flow are regulated.  The firm is building a new aquaculture production facility it calls Bluehouse in Miami.  By 2026, the three-phase project is expected to produce 90,000 metric tons of head-on and gutted salmon.  The company began selling salmon grown in indoor pools in 2013.
Wild shrimp stocks are dwindling also.  Indoor shrimp farms are on the rise in appropriate climates in many nations. 
The fish supply may also be assisted by genetic modification.  A Boston-based firm called AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. has developed genetically modified salmon that grow faster than traditional fish, to very large sizes while maintaining a high level of feed efficiency.  GM fish received approval by the FDA in late 2015 when it okayed the AquaBounty process in the U.S., after concluding that the GM samples it analyzed posed little risk to the environment and were safe to eat.  The issue created a high level of controversy.

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