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The worldwide growth in the demand of seafood and fisheries products has been phenomenal over the recent years, driving up the productions and earnings of the world’s largest fishing companies to the new heights. The global food market has witnessed a trend that consumers are significantly shifting toward fresh seafood and fisheries as a premium source of protein. Factors such as the widespread availability of different fish species, increasing population, growing health consciousness, and rising disposable income are expected to propel the prospects for growth among the world’s largest fishing companies in the near future.
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According to the latest report from FAO, the global fish production is expected to be approximately 177.8 million tonnes in 2019, representing a flat year-on-year growth. The fast-evolving aquaculture sector continues to follow a steady upward growth trajectory, with farmed harvests estimated to have increased 3.9 percent last year. Most commercially important farmed finfish species, including salmon, tilapia and pangasius achieved solid production gains in 2019, although the picture for farmed shrimp is less clear due to sluggish growth in Asia. The increase in aquaculture production was offset by an estimated 3.4 percent drop in wild catches, largely driven by the steep decline in anchoveta catches in Peru. Elsewhere, supplies of cephalopods have been tight and cod catches have also been limited. Tuna production has been better, however, and supply pressure has been dragging prices downwards. Wild fish now accounts for 45 percent of the fish we eat, and its share continues to decline.
When it comes to the price, FAO also reports that the world fish prices exhibited exceptional levels of volatility in 2019, due to a combination of supply variability and trade uncertainty. Multi-year lows and highs were recorded for a number of important traded species, both wild and farmed. Atlantic salmon prices fell steeply mid-year before staging a remarkable recovery to reach near-record heights by the end of 2019. In the last quarter of the year, good tuna catches in the Pacific pushed frozen skipjack prices down to levels not seen in a decade. Overall, the FAO Fish Price Index fell by around 10 points from September 2018 to September 2019.
The global seafood market landscape, led by world’s largest fishing companies, is currently highly sensitive to wider economic conditions, and the combination of faltering demand, tariffs and drawn-out uncertainty took a major toll on international seafood trade in 2019. After 4 percent growth in 2018, total trade value contracted in US dollar terms in 2019, dropping 1.42 percent to USD 160.5 billion, with reduced volumes a relatively more important factor than falling prices. At the same time, however, a generally stronger US dollar also contributed to a decline in export revenues as measured in other currencies.
Maruha Nichiro is a Japan-based holding company principally engaged in fishing and marine product business, well acknowledged as one of the world’s largest fishing companies. It’s main business segments include The Marine Product, The Food Product, The Storage and Distribution, and The Others segment involving in the storage of feed, the marine transportation business, the leasing of real estate, the hotel business, the manufacture and sale of packaging machines. By far, Maruha Nichiro has over 126 subsidiaries and 70 associated companies in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and other countries.
Nippon Suisan Kaisha is another world’s largest fishing companies based in Japan. Its core operations are carried out through the several main segments, including Marine Products, Food Products, Fine Chemicals, Logistics, and Others. It’s also a world’s leader in the fishing, cultivation, purchase, processing, and sale of seafood products. The Food Products segment covers the production and sale of frozen food, shelf-stable food, and other processed food. The Fine Chemicals segment manages the production and sale of inspection reagents and general medicines. The Logistics segment provides cold storage, freezing and transportation services. The Others segment includes repair and engineering services for ships and vessels.
Thai Union Group Public Co. Ltd. is a leading seafood company mainly engaged in the fishing, manufacture and sale of frozen, chilled, and canned seafood. It operates through the following business segments: Ambient Seafood; Frozen and Chilled Seafood and Related Business; and Pet Food, Value-Added, and Other. The Ambient Seafood segment includes tuna, sardine, salmon, specialty seafood, and pelagic fishes. The Frozen and Chilled Seafood and Related Business segment comprises of seafood items that are sold directly to restaurants, hotels, and food catering units as ingredients for further processing at kitchens. The Pet Food, Value-Added, and Other segment offers pet care, seafood, non-seafood, sub-materials, and sales of scrap. The company was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Samut Sakhon, Thailand.
Mowi, formerly known as Marine Harvest ASA is a Norwegian fishing and seafood company with operations in a number of countries around the world. The company’s main business is fish farming, primarily salmon, the operations of which are focused on Norway, Scotland, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Chile. Mowi represents over 30% share of the global salmon and trout market, making it one of the leading companies in the global fishing and seafood industry.
Mitsubishi Corporation is a globally integrated company with ten business groups consisting of over 1,400 subsidiaries and affiliates that span across 90 countries. All of Mitsubishi’s seafood activities sit under its food industry group, with its most prominent subsidiaries being Norwegian aquaculture company Cermaq, British tuna processor Princes Group and Japanese seafood wholesaler Toyo Reizo.
Dongwon F&B Co., Ltd. manufactures various processed food products. The Company’ s products include agricultural and marine products, beverages, dairy products, processed meat, fast food, frozen food, and ginseng. The company’s main product in early stage was canned tuna and expanded their business into a variety of food production.
Red Chamber Co. is a California based fishing and seafood company that mainly involves in the businesses of import, export, and distribution of seafood products. The Company is one of the world’s leading providers for shrimp, catfish, cod, haddock, swordfish, halibut, perch, pollock, salmon, scallops, mussels, squid, and imitation crab.
Skretting is the world leader in the manufacture and supply of aquaculture feeds, it uses its fishing products to produce and supplie aquaculture feed. The Company offers food products including brood stock, marine hatchery, juvenile, smolt, grower, and health promoting diets for fishes and shrimp.
Trident Seafoods Corporation is one of the world’s largest fishing companies based in the US. It operates a large network of fishing ships, processing plants, and a vertically integrated distributorship to harvest and market its fishing products and services to the customers worldwide. The Company is now of the world’s leading providers of seafood like seabass, cod, crab, flounder, halibut, mahi-mah, salmon, shrimp, trout, swordfish, tilapia, and tuna.
Austevoll Seafood ASA, based in Austevoll, Norway, is one of the largest fishing companies and leading seafood providers in the world. It also owns Norwegian seafood company Lerøy and Peruvian seafood company Austral. Today, Austevoll Seafood owns and operates its fishing vessels (both pelagic and white fish), fishmeal plants, canning plants, freezing plants, salmon farms in various of locations in Norway, UK, Peru and Chile.
The FAO has forecast that the global fishing industry will still face some uncertainties, mainly due to a difficult year of supply swings, price volatility, geopolitical tension and economic challenges. Although Brexit has finally happened, the precise terms of the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU27 are still not clear. For the most important traded commodities, supply growth from those largest fishing companies around the world is expected to slow or remain steady, and if demand improves this should see prices rise once again. On the downside, the US-China trade conflict is still far from being resolved and the negative impact of the recent 2019-nCoV outbreak on global trade may be significant, particularly in China.
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