SeaFood Business

MAR 2014

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Page 24 of 90

Market Report 20 SeaFood Business March 2014 Visit us online at Shrimp report (Continued from page 18) Premium No. 1 wild whites from Mexico are topping out at over $14.50 a pound for U- 10s, while No. 1 browns were going in the low- $12 range for U-12s. Retailers that booked orders last spring now fnd themselves strik- ing a balance between the higher prices they paid for shipments in the fall with just how much their customers will pay before buying something else, says a U.S shrimp supplier. While the holidays masked some of the weakness in the mar- ket, the true impact will be felt in the next three months, he says. — SFB Staff Norwegians pin hopes on skrei Huge cod harvests, quashed prices pressure whitefsh sector great for the market to absorb and prices will not pick up until new markets are opened up or the quotas are drasti- cally reduced, explains a leading exporter. Norwegians hope the development of niche markets will lift the cod sector and skrei in particular of- fers plenty of potential. Skrei is a migratory Norwegian cod, avail- able between January and April. Norway sup- plies 4,000 to 5,000 MT of skrei annually. Te fsh is becoming increasingly popular in upscale European restaurants. Skrei also comes at a premium price, much of which is attributed to clearly defned handling proce- dures. — Jason Holland NSC reported a slight lift (3 percent) in fresh cod prices in January despite Norway export- ing 8,775 MT of whole fsh, 93 percent more than in January 2013. Tis year, fsher- men are receiving a minimum of $2.28 per kilogram (kg) for fsh weighing 6 kg and over, and $1.83 for fsh be- tween 2.5 kg and 6 kg. Last year, they re- ceived $2.16 per kg for cod weighing 6 kg and over, and $1.71 for fsh between 2.5 kg and 6 kg — 22 percent less than in 2012. Te supply is too T he low market price of Atlantic cod (Ga- dus morhua) is a concern for Norway's white- fsh sector. In the last two years, prices have plummeted as a result of Norway and Iceland landing and exporting considerably larger vol- umes — all within legal catch limits. Norway, with its re- cord quota of 1 million metric tons (MT), set a new cod export record in 2013 with 231,000 MT, which was 63,000 MT more than the pre- vious year. However, large decreases in cod prices — as much as 20 percent — have put fshermen in a "chal- lenging situation," confrms Jack-Robert Moller, U.K. director of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC). Tis year, the joint Russia-Norway cod quota has been set at 993,000 MT, of which Norway owns 443,735 MT. Terefore the sec- tor is resigned to anoth- er year of diminished prices, although the whitefsh Warming oceans create distribution shifts Yellowtail, Japanese Spanish mackerel moving north G lobal warming is raising seawater temperatures of Japan, allowing migratory fsh to stay north longer. A study in the journal Nature last May found warming ocean temper- atures have moved the distribution of fsh pre- ferring cold seas farther north and into deeper waters, making it likely that reduced quantities of fsh will be harvested in low-latitude seas. Spanish mackerel, sardines and yellowtail around the East China Sea have moved north. Good catches of mack- erel of the coast of Chiba Prefecture have pushed the wholesale price at Tokyo's Tsukiji market down 3 to 4 per- cent from the same pe- riod last year, to about 800 yen ($7.80; €5.75) per kilogram (kg). Because of infation of imported food items due to the weak yen, more retailers are focus- ing on Spanish mack- erel and yellowtail for grilling. Unusually large mackerel catches are be- ing landed of Chiba Prefecture this year, part of a northward change of distribution. Winter yellowtail, called "kanburi" in Japanese, are also popu- lar for grilling, most frequently with a teri- yaki favor. Tey are the same species as farmed yellowtail, but are older, larger and fattier. At the Kanazawa Central Wholesale Market, the yellowtail season started well. Large fsh, 6 to 15.9 kg, sold in December at 1,400-1,800 yen ($13.50 to 17.50) per kg. At the morning auction on Jan. 4, the frst auc- tion of the New Year, fsh traded at 2,500 yen ($24.40) per kg. As for farmed yel- lowtail, the Japanese government is seeking to restrain production in the coming year. At a meeting with fshing co- operatives, the govern- ment announced a goal to reduce amberjack and yellowtail produc- tion by 140,000 metric tons, or 10 percent less than the 2012 level, in order to maintain prices and prevent fsh farmers from incurring losses. Tey are asking fshery cooperatives to assist in reducing production. Te purpose of this target is to prevent fall- ing prices due to over- production. It repre- sents a reversal from the Fishery Agency's previ- ous goal of expanding aquaculture and runs counter to free mar- ket competition at the same time the govern- ment is planning to reduce marketing con- trols and subsidies for rice. — Chris Loew Halibut report (Continued from page 18) shellfish upper-$9 range. It's possible halibut could fall into a price pattern that has impact- ed other whitefsh such as black cod and Chil- ean sea bass, which all have maintained high prices for several years. "Black cod prices went down 35 to 40 percent and nobody cared; it didn't stimulate any more movement," the executive says. "We're seeing pricing fatigue. Te people who are in the fresh business see it. Te frozen busi- ness is seeing OK sales, but they are riding of inventories. Some fresh demand is being satis- fed with frozen. I don't see it as a strong mar- ket." — SFB Staff 18_20MarketReport.indd 20 2/14/14 2:18 PM

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