bass and sea bream lie in changes to the industry’s approach to production. The Times newspaper recently reported that ﬁsheries ministers across the EU have agreed to combat a sharp decline in wild sea bass populations, which have halved since 2010. Consequently, the Times says that sea bass are now oﬀ the menu. This is a typical response resulting from an ill informed media and environmental sector. Sea bass are not oﬀ the menu at all, only wild sea bass. Yet because the environmentalists who have campaigned for a stop to the ﬁshing of wild sea bass are not supportive of the aquaculture industry, there is an absence of encouragement to ensure that the sea bass that consumers buy is farmed. Fortunately, the reality is that most sea bass bought from the retail sector anyway is farmed. The wild catch goes mainly to specialist ﬁsh-
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mongers and restaurants for one simple reason and that is the wild ﬁsh tends to be much larger than farmed. This means that it can be ﬁlleted or steaked or served as a centrepiece for more than one person. The farmed alternative is usually a one portion sized whole ﬁsh. Although there has always been an opportunity to farm larger sized sea bass, the loss of the wild ﬁsh means that this opportunity is greater than ever. In addition, the production of larger ﬁsh opens up the potential to produce a greater range of added value products. This is a clear win-win situation, especially as larger ﬁsh brings greater revenue. Moving away from one portion sized ﬁsh also widens the market since there are many people who simply don’t like being presented with a whole ﬁsh complete with head, eyes and ﬁns.
Although there “ has always been an
opportunity to farm larger sea bass, the loss of the wild ﬁsh means this opportunity is greater than ever
The solution to the sea bass and sea bream crisis is about investing in what the consumer wants, not what the producers think the consumer wants. FF
Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977