Trade and Markets

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.

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.

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