Farmed-Raised Cobia Sales in U.S. Quadruple in Four Month Period
The largest producer of farm-raised cobia in the world market is exploring plans to increase its production facilities in order to meet an unexpected sharp demand for the fish in the United States, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to AkvaCobia.
Carlos Massad, general manager of Marine Farms Vietnam, said today that sales of the company's akvacobia brand (www.cobia-usa.com) has increased dramatically from 5,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds per month during the first four months of its official launch in the American market.
Massad is particularly pleased that cobia is popular over such a wide spectrum of market, grocery store chains, cruise ship lines, casinos, and seafood restaurants. Retail has been particularly strong in the Midwest where mild white fish are especially popular.
Marine Farms Vietnam has just leased a hatchery in the Nha Trang area to test out a larval rearing protocol, the first step in potentially building its own hatchery to increase its source of juveniles
Massad maintains that the company is on track to expand capacity to 4,000 metric tons by 2014.
Harvey Lipman, cobia project manager for the Nordic Group, Inc., the exclusive North American sales and marketing organization for Marine Farms Vietnam, said the sharp increase in sales in such a short timeframe took the company by surprise.
"While we have plenty of product to meet the increased demand, however we did not expect farmed cobia to take off so fast," Lipman said.
He attributes the campaign's early success to "the market's interest in finding a new, sustainable white fish fillet that is a high-quality alternative to the more costly and often difficult to obtain grouper, red snapper, halibut, mahi mahi, and cod."
Lipman also pointed out that the increased demand for sustainability in seafood products has played to one of Marine Farms Vietnam's strengths. "We utilize the highest level of recognized sustainability practices in aquaculture, all our fish are fully traceable and Sashimi grade certified."
Lipman predicts that sales will surpass 40,000 pounds per month by the third quarter of this year as he expects current customers to increase their orders and awareness of farmed cobia increases.
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is expected to announce farmed seafood standards for cobia later this year.