Asian markets need more fish – expert
By Yolanda Sotelo
DAGUPAN CITY – Filipino fish producers need not fear the ASEAN economic integration as Asian countries will continue to absorb more fishery products in their domestic markets, a fishery expert said.
“In fact, Asian market absorbs more high value seafood compared to anywhere else in the world, and that the purchasing power of developed countries in other continents are not as strong as in Asia,” Shirlene Maria Anthonysamy of Infofish.
(Infofish is an intergovernmental Organization for Marketing Information and Technical Advisory Services for Fishery Products in the Asian and Pacific Region.)
Anthonysamy was a lecturer during during the first National Aquaculture Summit, held on July 7-8, sponsored by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region I and the Fish Producers Association of the Philippines, Inc.
She said the emerging markets in Asia have considerable growth in fish consumption due to rising consumer dmeand and better prices compared to the traditional western markets.
Most of the supermarkets in the Asia today sell high value fish like Atlantic salmon, cod, Pollact fillet, while the seafood restaurants boast serving exotic American lobster, Norwegian salmon, Alaskan pollack and Dungeness crab or King crab from Alaska and Russia.
“The high price (for these fish) is not a concern and consumers for these products are increasing for home cooking,” Anthonysamy said.
Demand for these fish increase because of television shows dedicated to cuisines around the world such as the Asian Food Channel which has influenced consumer’s taste buds.
But its not only the high value aquatic products that are selling well in Asian markets, she said.
Marine fishfish grown in the Philippines such as groupers, seabass, snappers, abalone, sea cucumber are the higher value aquaculture with growing demand.
But some of these fish are sold with “better-sounding names” to make them attractive to consumers. For instance, the Asian seabass is sold as “barramundi” in Malaysia and sells at higher price in Asian and western markets.
Anthonusamy said while markets is growing for aquaculture products in Asia, Philippine exports have been declining in the past years.
“While tuna is successful, imports of mackerel, tuna and pangasius have increased,” she said.
The demand for fish is increasing so there is a need for stronger efforts to develop the aquaculture industry, both locally and internationally, she said.
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