Salmon the World Over: This Year’s Commodity Catch

Salmon, for centuries, has been seen as a noble fish. It provides good sport fishing and an easy to cook holiday starter. However, not all salmon are equal; there are many different species to consider.

The main salmon species are Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and the Oncorphynchus genuses that relate to the Pacific Salmon species. In the food industry, the five main types found along the U.S. Pacific coast are Chum, Coho, Sockeye, Pink, and Chinook. Sockeye and Pink are the varieties that make up the majority of canned salmon, whilst varieties with more fat are used for smoking.

In general, if you are buying fish, then I would highly recommend Linnaean taxonomy. This way you know what you are buying. For example a shrimp in the US is a Prawn in the UK, but you can't argue with a Nephrops norvegicus.

Current trend in the salmon market
Global farmed salmon production in 2011 is said to be just below 1.50m tonnes, up 3.6% on 1.42m tonnes last year. Norway is the largest global salmon producer, with two thirds of the world's supply. Norwegian salmon output in 2011 is forecast at 0.98m, up 3.2% from 0.95m tonnes in 2010.

Chilean production is recovering well following the outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) last year. Output is forecast at 0.155m tonnes in 2011, 11% of world supply, up 23% on 0.126m tonnes in 2010. Chile has returned to being the second largest producer of salmon, a place it briefly lost to the UK in 2010. Chilean salmon exports in the first quarter (Q1) of 2011 were up by over 50% in volume on Q1 of 2010.

- Nick Peksa, Mintec Ltd.

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