Global Sustainable Seafood Market – Insights

Sustainable seafood refers to marketing and distribution of seafood through aqua farming or through wild catch in ways that would not harm the long term sustainability of species while also securing the future of the marine ecosystem. The close connection between seafood industry and global sustainability has resulted in developing different sustainability principles to seek and maintain ecological practices in this industry.

Owing to annual rate of catch being too high and overfished, it has been witnessed that several species are on the verge of extinction. According to a report released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it was reported that global population of the Scombridae family of food fish that includes tuna, bonitos reduced by 74% in 2015. Similarly, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Cassava croaker is estimated to decline by 30%-60% over the past several years affecting the marine ecosystem as well as impacting the local fisheries with the decline of local stocks. Furthermore, illegal fishing techniques carried by local fisheries have also impacted the marine biodiversity since recent past. Some of these fishing techniques used include bottom trawling, bycatch, cyanide fishing, dynamite fishing, and ghost fishing. For instance, in bottom trawling, considered one of the most harmful techniques is basically an industrial method where enormous nets are weighed down with heavy ballast and are dragged along the sea floor, thereby damaging the marine life. As a result, in heavily fished areas such as around coral seamounts of Southern Australia, around 90% of the corals have been found to be damaged. Hence, to maintain a sustainable ecosystem, several countries have banned this technique. For instance, in 2017, the EU implemented the ban on deep-sea bottom trawling beyond 800 meters in a move to protect the ocean ecosystem from industrial fishing. Similarly, bycatch in which the incidental capture of non-target marine species such as dolphins and turtles results in discarding of fishes and resulting in polluting the marine life. According to the WWF, bycatches represents around 40% of the global marine catches leading to high waste of food for both humans and marine species.
Developed economies such as North America and Europe hold largest market share for sustainable seafood while emerging economies such as APAC are reported to be fastest growing region in the market, owing to increasing awareness regarding sustainable seafood.

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However, lack of stringent government regulations regarding illegal fishing techniques in the emerging economies is restraining market growth. Furthermore, lack of awareness among the suppliers and the consumers and high price of certified sea food products is hampering growth of the market among the price sensitive consumers.

The U.S. holds dominant position in sustainable seafood market globally, owing to high sea food consumption in the country. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in 2016, the value of fish landings in the U.S accounted for US$ 5.3 billion, an increase of over 2.1% over the previous year. The same study also revealed that 92% of the processed fishery products is used for human consumption. Furthermore, stringent laws and regulations and high awareness among the suppliers and consumers is propelling demand for sustainable seafood in the region. Organizations such as Greenpeace, NOAA and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are playing a key role in ensuring sustainable sourcing and supply of seafood without impacting the sea food industry. Furthermore, sustainable seafood campaigns supported by the FAO are playing a key role in the growth of the market. Moreover, growing consumer awareness along with NGO and media campaigns have further accelerated the demand for sustainable sea food market with focus on responsible sea food demand, transparency in supply chain and adherence to laws and regulations. Sustainable sourcing of seafood by some of the major retailers operating in the US such as ALDI, Walmart, WholeFoods is also boosting the market growth in the region.
The global sustainable seafood market was valued at US$ 12.71 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 4.97% in terms of revenue, over the forecast period (2018 – 2025) to reach US$ 18.63 billion by 2025.
Global Sustainable Seafood Market Share, By Region, 2017

Source: Coherent Market Insights (2018)
Retailers operating in the sustainable sea food market are adopting different strategies including collaborations, product expansions, increasing geographic presence among others for business expansion. For instance, in 2017, Lidl committed to stocking only MSC certified fresh and wild frozen seafood and farmed seafood certified by the ASC or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) across the U.S. stores.
Key manufacturers operating in the sustainable seafood market include M.F. Foley Company, Inc., Zoneco Group Co., Ltd, Walker Seafoods, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd, Thai Union Group, Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Austral Fisheries, Pacific Andes Group, Marine Harvest ASA, AgriMarine Holdings, Kyokuyo Suisan Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation, and others.

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