Trade and Markets

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.

In June 2013, the European Commission and the U.S. government launched negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known on both sides of the Atlantic by the unexciting acronym “TTIP.” The proposed agreement is all-encompassing – covering goods, services, and investment throughout the economy, and it will be years in the writing and even more years in the enacting. It will be the largest free trade agreement in the world, covering more than half the global economy.

In June the public was shocked by a report in the British newspaper "Guardian" which described inhumane, sometimes even slave-like, working conditions on some ships registered under Thai flag. Trash fish from these vessels was said to have been processed to fishmeal and then further processed to shrimp feed. Large retail chains reacted immediately to the allegations with a purchase boycott, and some have already taken shrimp products out of their range as a precaution. Eurofish Magazine went to Thailand to gain a direct impression of the situation.

The Russian Republic in August imposed a broad ban on imports of food and other agricultural products, including fresh and frozen fish, from a large group of countries across three continents, including most of Europe and North America, as well as Australia.

Airfreight is often the fastest and most reliable mode of transport where the movement of goods over long distances is concerned. This makes it particularly suitable for fresh products with a short shelf life such as fish or seafood. Apart from the slump during the global financial crisis, cross-border airfreight volume has risen steadily in recent years. According to estimates by the International Air Transport Association IATA it currently amounts to almost 40 million tonnes, a significant percentage of which is seafood.

United States seafood markets are complicated and constantly changing, The North American Seafood Expo give industry members a venue to unveil and discover new products and adapt to new consumer trends.

Demand for fishmeal and fish oil is increasing in tact with the global increase in agriculture and fish farming. Low quotas and poor catches in Peru pushed prices up in2014 and industries are actively seeking alternatives to use in feeds.

As much as 15% of the total value of fish products marketed worldwide is shrimp. Shrimp prices have been lower than other fish products due to the spectacular growth in production (80% over the past ten years). Farmed, wild, marine and freshwater, as well as the ability to process it into a variety of product forms make shrimp a versatile commodity produced and traded in many markets.

The Turkish seabass and seabream industry has been steadily increasing production volumes for the last decade or so, to the point where Turkey is now the world’s major producer of seabass and is also closing the gap on the Greek seabream sector. At the beginning of 2015, it now appears that the production growth stage of the Turkish expansion is winding down and the focus is instead switching to turning production into profit.

Fishing and aquaculture have in recent years made enormous progress on their path to a more sustainable approach to production even if critics still doubt or deny the fact. For the criteria that enable objective assessment of the situation paint a clear picture: the environment and the resources it holds are today in better shape and we are entitled to look optimistically into the future.

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