Aquaculture for all

New Collaboration Looks to Develop Whitefish Pricing System

Cod Haddock Sustainability +8 more

NORWAY - Nofima is cooperating with the fishing industry to help make it possible to design a new pricing system in the primary market for whitefish.

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The work brings together information on everything from biological conditions along the coast and fish migration to the historical pricing of whitefish in Norway, Denmark, Iceland and the UK.

The reason for doing this is that there has been a lot of clamour, at times, around price negotiations between the fishermen’s cooperative sales associations and fish buyers. Over a year, prices can fluctuate quite sharply and make trading risky for the seller and buyer alike. The manner in which the price is determined can also result in long periods when the price the fishermen achieve does not correspond to what the market is willing to pay. This can give significant advantages or major drawbacks, for either the fisheries industry or for the fishermen.

The main objective of the project is to identify possible indicators and develop a model that is suitable for establishing reference prices that reflect market trends for whitefish.

"A possible new system will contribute to market signals having a faster impact on the price," said Bjørn Inge Bendiksen, a scientist with Nofima.

The project is being carried out in association with the industry itself, represented by The Norwegian Seafood Association, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organisation and Surofi.

"This is a joint project. Nofima’s task is to find systematic and objective information that can form the basis for efforts to establish reference prices," said Mr Bendiksen.

"To develop a reference price that reflects market trends will, inter alia, entail price developments being increasingly understood in terms of market mechanisms, rather than the parties’ ability to predict some very complicated conditions and often unpredictable changes that cannot be influenced or foreseen. It will also help to raise the legitimacy in the pricing by the parties," said the scientist.

The method to achieve this is to illuminate the price formation in both the Norwegian primary market for primarily cod, haddock and saithe, and other relevant primary markets such as Denmark, Iceland and the UK.

Thereafter, the scientists will illuminate the degree of historical correlation between the different primary markets and they will study the relationship between Norwegian export prices for various whitefish products, and whitefish prices in the primary market.

The project will be completed by 31 January 2017.