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By Nicki Holmyard (EUROFISH), FAO GLOBEFISH 2007.

Exports Frozen Mackerel: Norway

Norwegian exports of frozen mackerel in the first 3 months of this year showed a similarly slow start to the year as in 2007, with only 24200 tonnes compared with 24500 tonnes for the same period of 2007. Full year figures for 2007 were 339000 tonnes.

China and Japan remain the most important markets, with 4400 tonnes going to Japan, up from 2900 tonnes, and 6600 tonnes exported to China, down slightly from 7000 tonnes. These first quarter figures represent less than 10% of the full year quantities taken by these countries in 2007, with 119700 tonnes exported to Japan and 60200 tonnes to China.

Other major markets for frozen mackerel include Turkey, where sales were up 65% during the period from 2600 tonnes to 4000 tonnes.

Supplies to Ukraine and the Russian Federation also got off to a slow start, with Ukraine taking 1900 tonnes as opposed to 5000 tonnes for the first quarter of 2007, while the Russian Federation imported just 1,000 tonnes of Norwegian mackerel to the end of March, compared with 2,100 tonnes in 2007. This was a direct result of ongoing problems with the Russian Rood Inspectorate. However, exports to these two countries represented around a fifth of total Norwegian exports in 2007, having steadily increased in overall importance over the last few years.

Russia has now lifted the restrictions on imports from Norway, which were put into place in late 2007 following inspections of Norwegian processing units by the Russian veterinary inspectorate. This is good news for herring and mackerel fisheries. Similar problems were encountered in the UK following a visit by the Russians, and a high level veterinary delegation was made to Moscow in June 2008. This has resulted in the Russians agreeing to re-audit in the autumn, leaving processors scrabbling to comply with Russia’s factory and hygiene code, which is based on different criteria to the standard HACCP used in most of Europe.

Poland stepped up its first quarter imports of mackerel from 200 tonnes to 1000 tonnes, while the Korean Republic reduced theirs from 1400 tonnes to 200 tonnes. Eastern Europe in particular looks as if it will play an increasingly important role as a destination for Norwegian pelagic fish in the future.

Aggregated figures for other countries were up from 3300 tonnes to 5000 tonnes for the first three months of 2008, compared to 40000 tonnes taken during the whole of 2007.

German Frozen Mackerel Imports

Germany’s imports of frozen mackerel during the first 3 months of the year showed a 21% increase on the figures for the same period in 2007, with a total of 1700 tonnes compared to 1400 tonnes.

The whole of this increase came from imports from the UK, which also took up the slack caused by reduced imports from Ireland, Denmark and others.

UK figures were up 700% from 100 tonnes to 700 tonnes, while imports from Ireland were down 20% from 500 tonnes to 400 tonnes and imports from Denmark were down 40% from 500 tonnes to 300 tonnes.

Imports from the Netherlands were unchanged at 200 tonnes and the aggregated figures for other countries were down 100 tonnes from 200 tonnes.

Full year figures for 2007 were 5200 tonnes, which continues the decrease of around 10% seen annually for the last few years. Demand in China for mackerel continues to increase, with a recent BANR Japan report suggesting a 10% annual growth in demand in the future. China has already increased its catch from 250,000 tonnes in 2005 to an estimated 375,000 tonnes in 2008, and this is expected to rise by another 80,000 tonnes by 2010 to keep up with demand.

In the UK, the 150,000 tonne UK Western Mackerel stock is expected to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification later this year, making it one of the largest pelagic stocks to achieve this standard. The UK is one of the world’s largest retailers of MSC-certified fish. Norway is also putting fisheries forward for MSC certification, including the Norwegian north east Atlantic mackerel fishery. In Spain, Jealsa, market leader in the canning industry, announced Friend of the Sea certification for mackerel and sardines. It is now selling FoS labelled products under its Rianxeira brand in Spain, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and the UK. Canned products including mackerel from Aveiro Maroc have also been recently certified by Friend of the Sea.

August 2008

the Fish Site Editor

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