Seafood analyst Kontali drafted three scenarios for a future North American market that could rise to as much as 1 million metric tons by 2030 if it stays on its current growth trajectory of 5 percent per annum.
"That situation would be a strong driver for production and all sources filling demand," Kontali CEO Ragnar Nystoyl told attendees at the Global Seafood Marketing Conference in Orlando, Florida last month.
In this scenario, which Nystoyl called the "double jackpot," domestic land-based production meets its current optimistic forecasts, moving to upwards of 300,000 metric tons, or around 28 percent of the overall supply.
The "jackpot" scenario theorizes that North America's conventional salmon production, meanwhile, would extend beyond 200,000 metric tons.
Remaining supply would come from imports, which would still make up the majority of salmon consumption at more than 500,000 metric tons.
"There could also be reasons to look at a scenario where cage-based salmon farming has challenges that reduce supply, and where land-based is seeing a slower development and not the same yield as intended," Nystoyl said, leading to what could be North America's highest import-dependency for its salmon supply than ever before.
North American farmed salmon production has not been on a growth trajectory, he noted.
Last year, according to Kontali, production barely reached 170,000 metric tons of production, after producing 140,000 metric tons nearly two decades ago.
From regulations to environmental and health issues to political opposition, North American conventional farmed salmon production could conceivably decline, accounting for just 11 percent of the North American production at just around 100,000 metric tons.
Land-based salmon production, in this more sober view, would only reach 100,000 metric tons by 2030, or just 10 percent -- far short of projections being made by Atlantic Sapphire, Pure Salmon and others.
With those domestic shortfalls, imports would account for nearly 800,000 metric tons of supply, or 79 percent.