University at Albany Institute
for Health and the Environment

General Information about World Salmon Production and Consumption

World Supply

Over the last 2 decades, the rapid advance in farmed salmon production around the world has tripled the world supply of salmon. In that time, the production of farmed salmon has multiplied approximately 40 times (UN Food and Agricultural Organization, Fisheries Global Information System). In 1998, production of farmed salmon surpassed production from wild fisheries. In 1985, 6% of all salmon consumed around the world was farmed. In 2000, that figure jumped to 58% (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Fisheries and Aquaculture Atlas, 2001).

Consumption Patterns

Year-round farmed salmon production and price declines have greatly increased total salmon consumption in U.S., European, and Japanese diets:

  • In the U.S., salmon consumption increased nine times between 1987 and 1999 (An IntraFish.Com Industry Report on Salmon Product Development - The Fish of the Future?, 1999). Only canned tuna and shrimp are purchased in greater quantities than salmon by U.S. consumers.

  • Total European salmon consumption increased more than four times in that period (IntraFish).

  • Japanese salmon consumption doubled between 1992 and 2002.

Supermarkets are the most important outlet for farmed salmon in the U.S. According to a census of menus conducted by Restaurants and Institutions Magazine, salmon was on the menu of 39% of all food service establishments (fine dining, family and casual dining, quick serve dining, hospitals, schools, other institutions) in 2001. The census found that 71% of all fine dining establishments reported salmon on the menu.

Major Consumers

The largest consumers of farmed salmon are:

United States 207,000 metric tons
Approximately 28% of global consumption
Source: Most from Chile and Canada. Some from the U.S. and Europe.
Japan About 100,000 metric tons
Approximately 14% of global consumption
Source: 65% from Chile, 35% from Norway
United Kingdom Between 80,000 - 100,000 metric tons
Approximately 12% of global consumption
Almost all from Europe (Norway, Scotland, and the Faroe Islands)
Germany About 65,000 metric tons
Approximately 9% of global consumption
Almost all from Europe (Norway, Scotland, and the Faroe Islands)
France About 55,000 metric tons
Approximately 7% of global consumption
Almost all from Europe (Norway, Scotland, and the Faroe Islands)
Sources: Globefish, IntraFish, and Eurostat.

Major Producers

The Norwegian government’s promotion and subsidization of salmon farming in the early 1980s has allowed Norway to dominate world salmon production. Nevertheless, the newest and fastest growing national producer is Chile. A relatively small producer, the U.S. had only 45 commercial salmon farms in 2000, mostly in Maine and Washington State.

The largest national producers of farmed salmon (2000 numbers) are:

Norway 43%
Chile 26%
United Kingdom 13%
Canada 8%
Faroe Islands 3%
United States 2%
Other 5%
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Statistical Database

In 2001, seven mostly Norwegian and Dutch companies produced 40% of the world’s farmed salmon.

Information from the study's authors