Exports of Norwegian mackerel increase in first half of 2012

Many small pelagic stocks are in good shape, but with variations from species to species. With higher landings expected for many operators, prices may suffer.


In both Spain and Argentina, good mackerel catches have been reported. Norway’s export figure have risen significantly, with their exports up by 6% in the first half of 2012 compared with last year, a record breaking figure. At the same time, the average export price is 12% higher than the average for the first half of 2011. In terms of imports, Germany has increased purchasing frozen mackerel by just over 11% during the first quarter. Russia, on the contrary, is importing 47.5% less mackerel because now they are producing more domestically.

Recently, prices on the global mackerel market have changed quite noticeably. While fillet prices have been relatively stable, prices for whole frozen mackerel have gone from being quite low in February to shooting up in March and April. They have since fallen back a bit, and are now level with prices for frozen mackerel fillets.

On 31 March 2012, all the accredited North Sea and Atlantic mackerel fisheries lost their Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation as a result of the failure by the Faroese and Icelandic governments to lower their catches. This action is already having its effect on the market: in July it was announced that three major UK retailers would stop selling Scottish mackerel.



Stocks of herring in the North Sea and Alaska are in good shape, and continued good landings can be expected.

Norway’s herring exports during the first half of the year were down significantly, with total exports of all herring products down 30% compared with the same period in 2011. However, prices are much higher in 2012 than in 2011. For imports, the German market for frozen herring increased by 12% in the first quarter. On the French market though, the reverse is happening. French imports of frozen herring during the first quarter of 2012 dropped by 55%. Prices for differing herring products have been showing varying trends, with prices also varying from market to market. In general, the EU market pays a much higher price for mackerel than eastern European countries. Herring is increasingly achieving eco-label accreditation and in April it was announced that the Celtic Sea herring fishery had earned MSC certification after an 11 month assessment.



Capelin trade in 2012 appears to be reasonably good so far. Norwegian exports have increased from 66 900 tonnes in 2011 to 69 500 tonnes in 2012. However, prices are not as high as they were last year.

In Iceland, almost all the capelin quota has been taken. By late March, only 1 500 tonnes of quota was left.


Anchovies and Sardines

In Spain, the anchovy season was off to a slow start, with poor catches being reported at the beginning of the season. In addition, the fish caught was smaller than usual, and therefore commanded lower prices.

For imports, the UK reported a 43% increase in imports during the first quarter of the year, with Thailand accounting for practically all of this. On the French and German markets there was little change, with Morocco as their main supplier.

In recent news, scientists have recommended a quota of 20 700 tonnes of sardines to be divided between Spain and France. Additionally, the anchovy and sardine fishery in Chile was stopped for a two-week period in June because of the small size of the fish being caught.

More information on market trends, can be found by ordering the GLOBEFISH Highlights from http://shop.eurofish.dk