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GLOBEFISH - Information and Analysis on World Fish Trade

Fishmeal - October 2013


Derived demand for fishmeal by the aquaculture sector is expected to remain strong through the next quarter because of high prices for salmon.

These are well above the salmon prices prevailing in 2012 and have not yet deterred consumer demand for salmon. Modest growth in terrestrial meat production such as pig and poultry continues to add pressure to fishmeal supplies and stocks. As a result, fishmeal prices are expected to hold throughout the year. Anchovy fishing in the northern part of Peru has reopened in mid-June for specified areas in the north, having been closed between May and June for resource evaluation. The additional fishing days are expected to boost supplies of fishmeal from this fast growth species to make up for the significantly lower Latin American production in the first quarter of 2013 compared with last year.


In Latin America, Peruvian anchovy fishing constraints imposed earlier in the year were relaxed slightly with the announcement of 10 additional fishing days in mid-June by the Peruvian government. This has now been extended to the maximum catch limit per vessel or until the 31 July. The northern fishing grounds had been closed from May to June while a resource assessment was underway. The quota of 2.05 million tonnes  set earlier in the year based on the lower limits of the biomass estimate to ensure adequate biomass recovery were not achieved prior to the May closure. Fishing in the south remains negligible compared with the anchovy catch last year.  Combined Peru/Chile fishmeal production from January to March 2013 was more than 100% lower than the same period in 2012. According to forecasts there is little chance of either an El Niño or a La Niña this year, giving rise to the hope that stocks could begin to recover somewhat towards the end of the year.

Danish and Norwegian first quarter 2013 production was up quite substantially compared with last year, while Icelandic/North Atlantic production was slightly down. The Icelandic fleet has yet to start fishing for mackerel and herring. The season usually begins at the end of June.  


Peru continues to dominate Latin American fishmeal exports, although exports are less than a third of the volume exported in the first quarter last year. With the relaxation of the fishing moratorium in June and poor performance by Chile, Peru’s position will remain unchallenged.  China remains the largest market for Latin American fishmeal exports because of strong domestic demand for aquaculture products. For the first quarter of 2013 Japan has overtaken the EU as the second biggest market for Latin American fishmeal exports. Exports to Japan registered 10 900 tonnes while exports to Germany and the UK totalled 7 100 tonnes.


The average wholesale fishmeal price of USD 1 901.5/tonne (CIF, Hamburg) achieved in first quarter 2013 is significantly higher than the average price of USD 1 563/tonnes in 2012 [figures from IFFO]. Despite record high fishmeal prices in 2013, orders for fishmeal continue to be received by producers and stocks are depleting. Demand for fishmeal has been primarily driven by strong consumer demand for carnivorous farmed fish and terrestrial meat products. A falling yen in early 2013 is reducing Japanese consumer buying power, which may impact on Japanese demand for most high-value seafood imports, including farmed salmon. This would have repercussions for future fishmeal demand as salmon producers respond to market signals.


Prices are expected to remain high through 2013 on low fishmeal supplies. In addition, consumer demand for carnivorous fish, poultry and pork remained strong in the first quarter 2013, which in turn will support demand for fishmeal by fish and meat producers. 

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