Rome, Italy.- The aim of this report is to provide an overview of the market interactions (competition) between wild and farmed species in Mediterranean fish markets. The interactions between wild fisheries and aquaculture have been widely detailed by Soto et al. (2012) and Knapp (2015), whereas Bjørndal and Guillen (2016) analysed the existing literature on market interactions between wild and farmed fish.
The existence of market competition between wild fisheries and aquaculture implies that there is substitutability between wild and farmed species. Therefore, market competition between wild fisheries and aquaculture can be observed mostly when increased aquaculture supply leads to decreases in wild-caught seafood prices (Anderson, 1985). If two products (wild and farmed) are close substitutes, and considering that aquaculture is probably the world’s fastest growing food-producing sector, farmed
produce will win the market share from wild produce. If demand is not perfectly elastic, the price of both products will decline, as will the income of fishers. In an extreme case, buyers would make no distinction between both products, considering that they are the same product. However, if the two produces are not substitutes, so that there are no market effects, the increase in the supply of farmed produce will only lead to a price decrease for farmed produce, and will not affect the price of
wild-caught produce (Asche et al., 2001).
Previously available studies on competition interactions between wild and farmed species in the Mediterranean are based on a rather limited number of cases with no general trends detected. The differences in the outcomes obtained could be based, at least in part, in the different data sources employed and time periods analysed. In fact, market integration results can be sensitive to the period investigated because fish markets are dynamic and continuously evolving.
Therefore, this study is a detailed and wide-ranging investigation on the existence of market interactions between wild and farmed species in different Mediterranean countries. Unfortunately, only data from southern European markets and Turkish exports are available. Our results show that there is no, or low, market integration between wild and farmed products in Mediterranean countries for gilthead seabream, European seabass, or for the other species analysed (turbot, sole, meagre and clams). This general lack of integration between farmed and wild products has been explained in the literature by the traditional consumption (knowledge) of fish in the area, a preference for local products, the use of different market chains (e.g. fine restaurants normally only serve wild products), and a persisting negative perception of farmed finfish in the area. However, market integration has been found for blackspot red seabream and Atlantic cod. The existence of market integration between wild and farmed conspecifics for Atlantic cod can be explained because both products are imported and the low volumes of farmed cod sold. Market integration between wild and farmed conspecifics for blackspot (red) seabream could be due to the low volume of farmed individuals sold (i.e. only 2 percent of all fresh blackspot [red] seabream), which makes it possible that the prices of farmed products follow similar trends as the prices of their wild conspecifics.
The results show that there is no market integration between gilthead seabream and European seabass in French, Italian and Portuguese markets, and only partly in the Spanish market. There are few cases where prices of farmed gilthead seabream and European seabass are related (i.e. prices move together over time). This happens between farmed gilthead seabream and European seabass in the Madrid wholesale market, and between wild gilthead seabream and European seabass in the Barcelona
Finally, the results show that in general there is no market integration between wild species from different markets; only market integration for wild European seabass has been found between the Barcelona and Madrid wholesale markets. A higher degree of integration between markets for farmed species was expected, as aquaculture products are more subject to competition; however, our results show that market integration for farmed species is also quite limited. Prices of farmed turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) in Barcelona and Madrid wholesale markets are integrated. While market integration between farmed European seabass in Barcelona and Madrid and farmed European seabass in Paris wholesale markets is uncertain in the best of cases, the perception is that they are not integrated. The same applies to farmed European seabass imported from Turkey into the European Union (EU) and farmed European seabass into the Madrid wholesale market. In fact, the results for market integration are not conclusive because market integration is denied or accepted depending on the number of lags chosen and the methodology applied.
FAO. 2018. Market competition between farmed and wild fish: a literature survey, by Trond Bjørndal and Jordi Guillen. Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1131. Rome, Italy. http://www.fao.org/3/I8220EN/i8220en.pdf