Why are Prices in Wild Catch and Aquaculture Industries so Different?
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Through a comparative analysis of prices in capture fisheries and aquaculture sectors, the objectives of this paper are a) to investigate three the trends in prices of forage catches to feed the aquaculture species, b) to analyze the amount of fish species need to feed aquaculture species in order to assess the level of efficiency in resource use, and c) to examine the degree of economic concentration either in wild-catch industry and aquaculture sectors. The results show that prices of cultivated species are higher than prices of the same species when harvested from the sea. We explain this fact by the interplay of three forces. First, the amount of wild fish to feed aquaculture species continues to improve over time. Second, the pressure of fishing activities has not been reduced since catches of most forage fishes are declining, which induce higher prices of capture species that feed aquaculture production. Third, the level of seafood market concentration is significantly higher in aquaculture than in wild catches, which generates higher prices in aquaculture.
KeywordsGlobal seafood markets Wild fisheries Aquaculture Prices Economic concentration
The authors are grateful to Bo Söderström (Editor-in-Chief of AMBIO) for his generous and helpful comments and suggestions that greatly improved this paper. They also thank Helga Josupeit (FAO) for providing valuable data and information, as well as participants in the Subregional Workshop for South America on Valuation and Incentive Measures (Santiago de Chile, May 14–17th 2012) organized by the UNEP Program and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for insightful discussions and suggestions. SV was funded by Campus do Mar-International Campus of Excellence and the Norwegian Research Council. SRR is grateful to the financial support from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
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