Fulfilling EU consumer demand for cod based on domestic catches alone is not possible, and necessitates increased focus on sustainable third country imports, AIPCE-CEP, the EU Fish Processors and Traders Association, has said.
Cod boasts per capita consumption of 2.1kg on average across the EU, demand that cannot be met by domestic catches alone, the group said.
“For every 10 kg of cod consumed in the EU, 9 kg needs to be imported from third countries," commented the Dutch Fish Federation's Mike Turenhout. “Even if all available EU quota for cod is fully utilised by EU fishermen, around 85% of the cod should come from outside the EU”.
The maximum contribution of cod by EU fishermen is limited by the level of the EU cod quota available for EU and non-EU waters. Around 1.2 million tonnes of cod was available for the EU seafood market in 2019, of which 0.1 million tonnes was exported outside the EU, and according to AIPCE-CEP, imports from third countries are therefore 'vital' to secure enough cod for consumption within the European Union.
The negative effects of COVID-19, the exit of the UK from the EU, and the potential for reduced quotas mean that import dependency will increase even more in 2022, the group added.
In addition, increased demand for sustainably-sourced product means that sustainable stocks from the Barents Sea and mid-Atlantic region around Iceland are likely to be key.
'To ensure continued access to opportunities and to avoid any additional cost for the supply chain, industry should not be hampered by unnecessary burdens of tariff and non-tariff barriers,' AIPCE-CEP said in a statement.