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Global market increase for cephalopods outpacing gains for most other species.

Global Market Increase for Cephalopods Outpacing Gains for Most Other Species

They don't live very long (12 to 14 months), they aren't good candidates for aquaculture, and only three countries account for most of the imports. But cephalopods are catching on.

World landings of octopus, squid and cuttlefish increased nearly 73%, from 999,860 tons to 1,726,549, between 1970 and 1986, Jochen Hannes Nierentz told the International Seafood Conference. Overall world fish and seafood catch was up 40% to 91.4 million tons for the same period.

Japan alone still accounts for nearly 40% of the cephalopod imports; Japan, Spain and Italy together take 75%. Japan also leads the world by far in terms of catch, with Korea and Taiwan being a fairly distant second and third, and Spain, the U.S.S.R. and Poland playing a significant role.

Nierentz, fishery industry officer (international trade) for the Fishery Industries Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said, however, that while cephalopods are widely regarded as underexploited species with high potential, the only real potential is with oceanic squid beyond 200-mile EEZ limits.

Most of the increase in cephalopod landings has come from newly-exploited resources (mostly squid) in the Southwest Atlantic, where Argentina has become a major player. Octopus are caught mostly off West Africa by Morocco and Mauritania, and cuttlefish mostly in the western Pacific. Squid landings in other areas, such as off Canada, have been inconsistent.

Exploitation of oceanic squid, for which landings have fluctuated between as high as 575,000 tons to as low as 260,000 during the past 10 years, may depend on new technology, what with the present world concern over use of driftnets. Japan has already had to cut back on fishing for flying squid in the Northwest Pacific, as conventional methods appear to have depleted the species.

Despite all that, the world catch hit a new high of about 2.2 million tons in 1987. It dropped back to about 1.7 million in 1988, but 1989 (according to preliminary figures) seems to have produced another bumper harvest similar to that for 1987. Of the total world catch of cephalopods, Nierentz said, squid represents about 81%, octopus 11% and cuttlefish only eight percent.

World cephalopod imports increased steadily from 298,000 tons in 1981 to 533,000 in 1987, with a slight (estimated) drop to 530,000 in 1988. Japanese imports were 202,000 tons in both 1987 and 1988, a drop from a high of 232,000 in 1986. Spanish imports nearly doubled from 61,000 in 1986 to 117,000 in 1987, then slipped to 111,000 in 1988. Italian imports have grown more slowly, to 91,000 for 1988.

Mauritania led the world in octopus exports in 1987, at 49,100 tons, with Morocco a close second at 46,900. Thailand was first in cutate exploitation. Chub mackerel catches fluctuate highly, from 35,000 to 200,000 tons, while Chilean herring catch is fairly stable at 30,000-40,000. El Nino is again a major factor.

In the Eastern Central Atlantic, off Mauritania and Morocco, the catch is relatively small - 58,000 tons of mackerel and 12,000 tons of horse mackerel - and landings have fallen considerably in recent years, although it is "considered uncertain whether this drop reflects a corresponding decline in the fish stocks." In the Southeast Atlantic, where the catch has been running 600,000 tons of horse mackerel and 25,000 tons of chub mackerel, the current moderate to intense exploitation is considered "reasonably justified."

Global catch of herring is estimated at 2.3 million tons, with that for mackerel 2.8 million to 3.1 million tons and that for horse mackerel 3.5 million to 4.2 million tons. Herring and mackerel account for about 12% of all fish and seafood caught annually. Consumption amounts to 1.2 million tons of herring products, Munkejord said; the amount of mackerel consumed is anyone's guess. International trade (roundweight) is 750,000-800,000 tons of herring and 600,000-650,000 tons of mackerel.

European Community nations dominate exports of mackerel, at 374,000 tons; they also import 160,000 tons, export 342,000 tons of herring and import 286,000. Soviet bloc countries import 204,000 tons of mackerel and 173,000 tons of herring. Among other countries, it is Nigeria that stands out as an importer of 84,000 tons of mackerel, while the United States and Canada combined export 77,000 tons of herring.

National Sea Output Sinks

National Sea Products Ltd., Halifax, N.S., Canada, had to shut down two major processing plants in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia last month because of serious declines in cod stocks in the North Atlantic. The Canadian government cut the total allowable catch 12% last year, and a 20% cut is expected this year.

Light Shed on `El Nino,'

The Mysterious Fish Poacher

British scientists have concluded that significant changes in the salt content and temperatures of the world's oceans are responsible for triggering the recurring abnormality in weather patterns known as "El Nino." The mysterious condition is believed responsible for wreaking havoc ranging from devastating fish stocks off South America to reducing monsoons in India to causing severe drought in countries as far flung as Australia and China.

Named by South Ameican fishermen, El Nino is Spanish for the infant. It is so-called because the natural condition occurs in the Pacific shortly after Christmas once every three of four years.

The scientists discovered that the phenomenon originates thousands of miles west of the South American coast. Their findings were made public following a three-year study conducted by 190 participants who took part in an around-the-world voyage aboard the research ship Charles Darwin.
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Title Annotation:QFFI's Global Seafood Magazine
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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