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Seafood Prices on a Rising Tide

Salmonids Economics +2 more

FRANCE - Seafood prices have always been known to be variable with no two years resembling each other, according to Finnian OLuasa, Bord Bia Paris. 2010 is no exception with price trends apparently rising as opposed to a saturated market for most species in 2009.

Negotiations between suppliers and supermarket buyers takes place in France up to 1 February 2011, the date by which commercial contracts must legally be signed.

Certain major groups such as Findus have already expressed concern with sharply rising raw material prices which for example have risen by 60 per cent for Pacific pink salmon, over 20 per cent for Atlantic cod.

A number of factors are influencing salmon prices this year such as a very poor Alaskan salmon fishery and delays in recovery of the farmed Chilean salmon production.

This has lead to higher prices in general over 2010 with for example the fish pool salmon price index for September 2010 showing a value of €4.60/kg compared to €3.36/kg in 2009, i.e. a rise of over 35 per cent. The index mainly reflects Norwegian export prices.

The necessity of capture certification following EU IUU legislation is also impeding imports from non ratified fisheries such as Russian salmon.

Shellfish prices are following a rising trend with crustaceans being in greater demand in emerging markets leading to a tighter situation in the prawn market. Both oyster and mussel production are showing lower production this year which will lead to rising price trends in the last quarter and an early end to the French Bouchot season which is predicted to finish in November.

The main factors responsible for the above trends are an exceptionally cold winter in 2009, which has slowed growth for aquaculture species (salmon, mussels, oysters), disease related mortalities which have also decreased production and raising consumer purchasing power in emerging markets.

This inflationary trend also demonstrates that in spite of economic recession, seafood remains a very much desired product for international consumers.