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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

21/07/2015: Cobia: is it the next big thing?

by Roy Palmer, Aquaculture Without Frontiers, Australia 

First published in International Aquafeed, May-June 2015

Everyone wants to be in on the next big thing, be that a speculative share, a new technology gadget and yes, even a new fish!
    

http://issuu.com/international_aquafeed/docs/iaf1502_w1_e0f14eef749a20/46

The success of salmon has people dreaming of the new discovery that will be salmon’s white fish competitor. There is a definite demand for this. There are a number of species that have potential and one of them is cobia (Rachycentron canadum).

In the wild, cobia is a highly valued seafood species - a very popular game fish well regarded because of its fighting abilities and the delicious taste. Wild cobia are rarely seen in large groups, so only a small quantity is wild-caught and, generally speaking, professional fishermen do not specifically target cobia; they only harvest them incidentally when fishing for other species.

Quality harvested aquaculture cobia doesn't taste fishy. It's white and firm like swordfish. It can be grilled, sautéed or served as sashimi or in a bouillabaisse. 


The FAO says worldwide farmed cobia production was less than 2500 metric tons 10 years ago but in 2009 production surpassed 30,000 metric tons, with more than 80 percent in China - the world’s largest producer - and Taiwan. A sign that US cobia imports are increasing is that the US International Trade Commission gave cobia an import code (thus being able to differentiate from unspecified finfish).

As much as China has been the leading producer of farmed cobia, many other countries are developing technology to aquaculture cobia, hence global production of cobia is on the rise and it is appearing on menus more and more. Ocean-cage operations are under way in the Bahamas, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia and a number of Latin American countries including Belize, Ecuador, etc. but this article will look specifically at Brazil, Panama and Australia.


Read the magazine HERE.

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