Trade and Markets

When a female shrimp that had been caught in the wild spawned for the first time in a test facility in Florida in 1973 the farming of Whiteleg Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), usually known simply as white shrimp, began. It has been an unprecedented success story, for today this species is the most produced shrimp in the world’s shrimp farms. Production is stable and brings forth such large quantities that supply sometimes even exceeds demand.

The economic crisis is affecting sales in Europe, where imports are down. The picture is mixed with regard to octopus supplies. The EU claims stocks off North West Africa are over-exploited, but at the same time octopus shipments from Morocco and Mauritania are up. The Japanese market picked up in 2012.

Tuna prices have increased further for delivery to Asian canners, indicating lower supplies than current demand. This rise may influence prices in other regions in Latin America and Africa. Following this trend canned tuna prices are also on the increase. Meanwhile the sashimi tuna market in Japan is firming up in preparation for the spring festival in April/May. The USA market for non-canned tuna has been stable throughout the last year and this trend may continue in 2013 as well.

The recent upward price trend is taking place against a backdrop of one of the largest ever increases in production volume in 2012, evidence of a genuine strengthening of underlying demand. Emerging markets are also presenting increasingly attractive opportunities and suppliers are generally optimistic about 2013. The situation in Chile remains delicate, however, with further industry consolidation looking likely as producers try to adapt to the new regulations while fighting rising costs and the continuing threat of disease.

The European fish and seafood processing industry relies on a consistent supply of raw materials to satisfy growing consumer demand from both domestic and export markets. Recently, Matthias Keller, vice president of the European Federation of National Organisations of Importers and Exporters of Fish (CEP), delivered a presentation to representatives of the Dutch fish-processing industry. He delivered four key messages.

The frozen skipjack price remains strong at USD 2 300-2 400/tonne for delivery to Bangkok. During early June, there was a softening in the price to USD 2 150/tonne that lasted for a short period. Marketers indicate that prices have bottomed out and could possibly increase again in a short time. In the high-end sashimi and non-canned tuna trade, demand remains low this year in the largest market, Japan. However, the positive trend continues in the US market, which could be considered as the second most important market for non-canned tuna including sashimi tuna.

Currently, the EU imports 65% of its seafood requirements. Owing to restrictions, only 25% can be supplied by EU fisheries, and EU aquaculture supplies a mere 10%. According to the document “Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture”, the growing gap between the level of EU seafood consumption and the volume of captures from fisheries can be closed through EU aquaculture. In the Mediterranean region, that means primarily sea bass and seabream.

At the Marel Salmon ShowHow event in Copenhagen in February an analyst from Rabobank analysed developments in the salmon market to make forecasts about the next years. Gorjan Nikolik suggested that in 2014 Norwegian production of salmon would grow 5-8%, while the forecast for Chile was more volatile at 1-10%. Looking first at Norway, he said Norwegian salmon production is affected by the maximum allowable biomass (MAB), legislation which determines the biomass in the water.

Driven by the expansion of aquaculture, total capture and aquaculture production is showing further growth. In 2012, total production volume reached 158 million tonnes and is expected to set a new record in 2013, at 160 million tonnes. Generally, developing countries continued to be the predominant producers, with a share of 82% of world fishery and 94 % of world aquaculture production. Eighty eight percent of world’s aquaculture production was produced in Asia. In the last biennium China confirmed its role as the principal producer, with 57 million tonnes in 2012, of which about 40 million tonnes originates from aquaculture.

Over 640 delegates from 35 countries met in Bergen during the 9th North Atlantic Seafood Forum on March 4-6, 2014. The conference was divided into thematic seminars, so participants could learn about all the key issues and developments related to the themes in which they were interested. This edition of Eurofish Magazine will review the most important summaries, trends, and expectations in the salmon industry as presented at the event.

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