2010/715 Cobia market analysis
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2010/715 Cobia market analysis

By Jo-anne Freeman


The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the production of Cobia worldwide, specifically in terms of production and pricing. Desk research conducted in early 2010 identified approximately fifty sources of information ranging from, FAO global production and trade figures, through to academic journal articles, company annual reports and newspaper articles.

Some of the key findings from this research include:

  • The Cobia market is in its infancy, with the first commercial farming beginning, in the early 1990s in Taiwan
  • Estimated annual production of Cobia globally in 2008 was 47,000 tonnes, of this approximately 37,000 tonnes (78.7%) is farmed and 10,000 tonnes (21.3%) is wild caught
  • Farmed production volumes have been increasing at an average rate of 44 percent per annum in the last 10 years, with exponential growth expected in the near future
  • The top three countries currently farming Cobia are China (25,855t), Taiwan (3998t), Vietnam (2500t), with countries such as Brazil, Belize and Panama fast emerging as major suppliers
  • The only fully developed consumer market is Taiwan, whilst The United States, Japan and South Korea have been identified as emerging markets
  • As a result of increasing aquaculture production, particularly from China, the production value has declined from USD 6.66 per kilogram in 2000, to USD 2.01 in 2007

Cobia has become one of the highest priority species for production globally due to its rapid growth rate and excellent flesh quality. A growing demand for sustainable products, along with seafood trade deficits and the stagnation of wild-caught fisheries are driving both private and government backed Cobia aquaculture initiatives. Due to the high level of production and export, China is likely to have the greatest influence on global trade, supply, and pricing of Cobia in the years to come.