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International Fish Markets under Pressure

Sustainability Economics +3 more

ANALYSIS - The global market for aquatic products is being impacted by the difficult economic situation in the major importing markets and the situation does not look likely to improve in the near future except at the peak times during the season, writes Chris Harris

According to a report from the French food and agriculture analysts France AgriMer white fish, in France, especially cod, is abundant and the market is stable with relatively low prices.

In October, the price of whole cod from Norway was 10 per cent lower than last year on the French market.

France AgriMer says that the salmon market, however, is still under pressure with high prices, which are expected to remain until 2014.

Shrimp consumption is currently low in the European market, but retailers are starting to stock up for the festive season and prices are continuing to rise.

On the bass and sea bream market, stocks are plentiful, but demand is still weak, but prices are expected to increase in December.

Volumes of fish on sale in the markets over the past 12 months (from November 2012 to October 2013 ) were down by four per cent compared to the previous 12 months the France AgriMer report says.

All species have been affected by lower supply, but despite lower availability, demand, both on the domestic market and in exports has been sluggish little pressure on prices.

Marketing difficulties resulted in a two per cent fall in the average prices (2.99 € / kg against € 3.05 / kg) and turnover in the fish markets fell by seven per cent over the year.

White fish

Volumes of white fish for sale in fish markets fell by eight per cent over the last 12 months because of a drop in the numbers of whiting, down by 13 per cent, cod, down by 22 per cent, and haddock, down by 28 per cent, landed the France AgriMer report says.

The average price for almost all species fell with only whiting up by four per cent and haddock, up by 31 per cent recording an increase in their average price.

This is all down to an increase in the availability of cod imports destabilising the internal market.

Turnover in sales of white fish fell by four per cent over the year.

Small Pelagics

Catches of small pelagics are down over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.

Sardine numbers rose by 23 per cent while anchovy fell by 49 poer cent and mackerel by 14 per cent.
The auction average price for sardines was down by three per cent while for anchovy it rose by 10 per cent and mackerel by seven per cent.

Overall, the average price of small pelagics was down by nine per cent because of a reduction in the share of the most expensive species.

Fin fish

Volumes for fin fish for sale in fish markets in the last 12 months were down by one per cent.

All species recorded stable landings, or showed an increase, with the exception of the sole, which was down by two per cent and red mullet landings, which were halved.

The average price moved downward by an average of two per cent for all species except for red mullet, which rose by 28 per cent. Turnover fell by four per cent.


Over the last 12 months, catches of cephalopods on the French market are down by 16 per cent.

Volumes squid and cuttlefish fell back by 18 per cent and 23 per cent. Despite this decline, the average price also fell by 12 per cent for cuttlefish.

Squid prices rose by four per cent . The sales value of cephalopods in fish markets therefore dropped by 22 per cent over the last 12 months.

Scallops - Coquille St Jacques

The French fish markets report the volumes Coquille St- Jacques landed since the opening of the fishing season in weeks 40-46 were down by 23 per cent compared to the same period of the previous season – down by 23 per cent in the Western Channel and 23 per cent in Eastern Channel.

Stable Imports

Imports of aquatic products are stable in volume over the last 12 months.

The average price of products remained constant and the value of imports has stabilised.

Salmon imports were affected by soaring prices since early 2013. Over the past 12 months, the volume of imported chilled whole salmon (two thirds of total volumes imported salmon ) decreased by eight per cent compared with the previous 12 months and 12 per cent in value , while those chilled fillets and frozen rose : 16 per cent and 19 per cent in volume respectively and by 39 per cent and 10 per cent in value.

However, very large supplies of cod in the Barents Sea have resulted in a decline in current acceleration of trade.

Imports of chilled cod increased in volume by 18 per cent for whole fish and fillets by 36 per cent , while their price decreased by six per cent and 12 per cent.

As for other white fish, imports of frozen fillets of Alaska Pollack are rising again up by five per cent in volume, and chilled saithe rose by 23 per cent for whole fish and eight per cent for filets.

Imports of aquaculture products are still growing : frozen bass rose by 10 per cent in volume ,and whole chilled sea bream by 41 per cent .

Volumes of frozen warm water shrimp imports fell slightly, down by one per cent, because of higher world prices and those of South American scallops continue to decrease, down by nine per cent, despite import prices being down by seven per cent.

Exports of aquatic products fell in volume and value by one per cent over the last 12 months.

According to France AgriMer, over the last 12 months consumption fresh fish at home fell by three per cent in volume, while the average price rose byt three per cent.

This decrease is explained by the significant reduction in purchases of fresh salmon which was down by 14 per cent and alone accounts for 22 per cent of purchases of fresh fish by volume. Retail prices of salmon rose by per cent.

The consumption of white fish, meanwhile, is doing well, according to France Agri Mer with purchases of rising by 16 per cent, with an average fall in price of five per cent due to the increased availability of imports.