GLOBEFISH - Information and Analysis on World Fish Trade

Squid - March 2012


The squid fishery in southern Africa has been disappointing as landings have been very low. There has been some fear that the season would be extremely bad, and some vessels have moved to deeper waters to try their luck there.

On the contrary, landings in South America have been better, so that the supply situation on the whole is not too bad. The first half of 2011 was quite good, although lower catches were recorded during the second half of the year.

 The outlook for the South American squid fishery is not good, though. According to the Federal Fisheries Council (CFP) of Argentina, surveys indicate that resources have declined. Thus, the 2012 season is uncertain, at best. The latest survey, which was conducted in January 2012, indicated a shortage of squid in southern waters, and north of the 44th parallel catches were also well below previous years’ average.

In order to get a better view of the actual situation in Argentinian waters, the National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP) conducted a new survey in January/February, concentrating on the southern waters and the fishing area off Patagonia.

The 2011 supply situation improved over 2010, and this is reflected in international trade. Japan’s imports of squid rose significantly during the first nine months of the year, from 39 900 tonnes to an impressive 53 600 tonnes (+34%). China continued to strengthen its position as the number one supplier, and during this period China accounted for 45% of all Japanese squid imports. Peru also experienced good exports to Japan during this period, with a 157% increase over the same period in 2010. Other important suppliers to Japan included Thailand, the USA and Viet Nam.

The supply situation is well reflected in the exports figures for one of the main supplying nations, Argentina. Since 2007, Argentina’s exports of squid have declined from almost 150 000 tonnes to just 50 500 tonnes in 2009, and even less in 2010. With one major supplier suffering such a setback over the years, it is not surprising that prices have climbed.

Cold storage holdings in Japan have been declining over the years – a sign of difficult supplies. In 2011 cold storage holdings followed cyclical changes, but at the end of the year again were very low.

For squid prices, this seems to have little effect, while cuttlefish prices have been rising in Japan for several years now and are at present very high.

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