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Declines in key species will weigh on 2018 groundfish supply

An expected fall in Russian and Alaska pollock and Atlantic cod will reduce volumes, experts at the GroundFish Forum project, but new details on Pacific cod stocks could change the picture.

The global supply of key wild whitefish is expected to fall in 2018 to 7.355 million metric tons, attendees at the 26th annual Groundfish Forum in Lisbon, Portugal, were told on Wednesday.

The projections, which exclude Northern blue whiting harvests, are down 2 percent from anticipated harvests this year of 7.511 million metric tons. Assuming Northern blue whiting catches hold steady next year, volumes would reach 8.915 million metric tons, down 1.7 percent from this year's anticipated harvest of 9.071 million metric tons.

However, one major caveat to the figures are recent surveys of Pacific cod biomass, which show a sharp decline that could result in a much lower total allowable catch in the Bering Sea.

Under US fisheries management rules, the total cap on fish harvests in the Bering Sea is 2 million metric tons. A lower Pacific cod harvest could then give room for a higher Alaska pollock quota.

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Pollock supplies are expected to contract to 3.395 million metric tons, down from 3.485 million metric tons. While Alaska pollock harvests are expected to hold steady at 1.525 million metric tons, Russian pollock harvests were projected to decline slightly. Japan and South Korean pollock projections held steady at 150,000 metric tons and 20,000 metric tons, respectively.

Atlantic cod supply is expected to drop to 1.245 million metric tons from 1.324 million metric tons in 2017, mainly the result of projected declines in Norway and Russia's harvest. Norwegian cod harvests are estimated to decline by 9.6 percent to 367,000 metric tons, while Russia's cod harvest is expected to fall 10.6 percent to 354,000 metric tons.

Saithe catches are expected to increase 12.3 percent year-on-year to 412,000 metric tons from 367,000 metric tons -- a fifth straight year of increases.

Next year's haddock supply is projected to decrease 8.8 percent to 331,000 metric tons, down from 363,000 metric tons this year. That would make next year the third-straight year of declines in haddock catches.

Redfish supplies are expected to remain stable, rising slightly from 181,000 metric tons to 182,000 metric tons.

Northern blue whiting catches are for 2017 were revised upwards to 1.56 million metric tons, however, no outlook figures for 2018 were given.

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Pacific cod harvests are projected to drop from 426,000 metric tons to 410,000 metric tons, though again those figures do not account for the potential impact from last month's surveys.

Global hake supplies are predicted to hit 1.117 million metric tons next year, slightly rising from 1.116 million metric tons this year.

Southern blue whiting will reach 57,000 metric tons in 2018, up from 50,000 metric tons.

In terms of farmed species, the supply of Atlantic salmon should hit 2.374 million metric tons, up 2.266 million metric tons this year.

Channel catfish and pangasius from Vietnam, China and the United States is expected to reach volumes of 1.51 million metric tons, rising from 1.46 million metric tons this year.

Farmed Coho, however, will remain stable at 168,000 metric tons, and farmed rainbow trout / steelhead will also remain at the same level as this year, at 180,000 metric tons.

Wild groundfish supply: 2015 - 2018 supply outlook (in 1,000 metric tons)

Species

FAO 2015

WGF 2015

2016

2017*

2018*

Pollock

3,308

3,283

3,428

3,485

3,395

Atlantic cod

1,304

1,298

1,298

1,324

1,245

Saithe

293

290

301

367

412

Hakes

852

845

1,015

1,116

1117

Haddock

308

307

342

363

331

Hoki

245

250

199

199

206

Pacific cod

460

460

447

426

410

Northern blue whiting

1,407

1,396

1183

1,560

/

Southern blue whiting

59

58

58

50

57

Redfish

167

166

177

181

182

Totals

8,403

8,353

8,448

9,071

7,355

Farmed groundfish supply: 2015-2018 supply outlook(in 1,000 metric tons)*

Farmed Species

FAO 2015

WGF2015

2016

2017*

2018*

Atlantic Salmon

2,382

2,308

2,190

2,266

2,374

Catfish/ pangasius**

1,583

1,493

1,555

1,462

1,514

Farmed coho

141

165

121

168

168

Rainbow trout/steelhead

218

219

219

180

180

* Groundfish panel estimate

**Vietnam, China, United States

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