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Innovation and Optimisation in French Fish Auctions

Sustainability Economics +3 more

FRANCE - Brittany fishermen are testing a concept which allows them to pre sell monkfish two days before landing at harbour in order to secure supply for processors, according to Finnian OLuasa from the Paris Office of Bord Bia Irish Food Board.

This will compliment the traditional spot auction whereby fish are sold when landed but with the difficulty of anticipating both supply for buyers and demand for fishing vessels.

The new forward selling system is to be tested by the Brittany Fishermens association from early February through the Guilvinec auction. Participating vessels will announce their catch of monkfish two days before landing, this will be less than 50 per cent of the overall catch of monk and will be included in the auction sales catalogue accompanied with the quality index and size category distribution.

The fish will be auctioned therefore the morning prior to landing and delivered to the buyer on morning of landing before the traditional spot auction. It is hoped that this will lead to less volatile prices and allow processors to better anticipate raw material needs.

Distance selling is another innovation being carried out by auctions in Brittany which allows buyers to access the different auctions on line.

This has a stabilising effect on price but puts more emphasis on the reputation of each vessel as the catch is no longer visible therefore reputation and trust is paramount as is effectiveness of the quality grading system prior to auction.

French auctions in general had stable volumes in 2012 with total sales in the national network of 40 auctions reaching 201,366 tonnes and were valued at 611m. This represented a slight increase in volume while the value was back by 2.8 per cent.

These results contrast slightly with positive 2011 figures as described in an earlier food alert. Innovation and optimisation of first point of sale is therefore timely considering current demand dynamics.