What´s the problem with whitefish?Most commercially important whitefish stocks are overexploited. Some species are classified as vulnerable or even endangered. They are predicted to completely disappear over the next 15 years (e.g. cod) if fishing continues "business as usual".
Illegal or pirate fishing is one of the biggest problems that causes overfishing.
Unsustainable fishing practices such as bottom trawling also threaten several other endangered species that are not targeted in the first place (i.e. bycatch) and damage vulnerable deep-water marine ecosystems, for example. Poor fisheries management is the root cause which often lacks an "ecosystem based management" (EBM) approach that enables to sustain healthy marine biodiversity and fisheries.
The whitefish market"Frozen fillets and fish sticks"
Whitefish species have a high commercial value. Most of them are caught in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. The Indian and Southern oceans share the remaining 1% of global whitefish catch. Large-scale commercial vessels trawl the ocean seafloor in search for cod, hake, hoki or haddock.
Their flesh is sold as frozen fillets or processed fish products such as fish sticks or burger patties used for the fast food restaurants and retail. One of the main processing countries of whitefish is China. Whilst whitefish is mainly consumed in Europe and North America, Japan and China are also important markets for processed food such as "surimi" (e.g. 'crab sticks').
The most important commercial whitefish fishing nations are the USA, Russia, Chile, Argentina, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Norway, New Zealand and Australia. Also European fishing vessels play an important role, they catch whitefish species either for fresh consumption or as frozen fish fingers or fillets.