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GLOBEFISH - Information and Analysis on World Fish Trade

Herring - February 2011

01/02/2011

While the total mackerel quota was increased, the quotas for herring were cut back.

n an agreement between Norway, the EU, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Russia, the quota for NVG (Norwegian spring-spawning) herring was also reduced significantly, from 1 483 000 tonnes in 2010 to 988 000 tonnes in 2011. Of this total quota, Norway’s share is 61%, or 602 680 tonnes.

The situation for the Baltic herring stock seems to have improved, and therefore scientists are recommending a higher quota for 2011. ICES has advised that the Baltic herring quota can be increased from 15 884 tonnes in 2010 to 26 800 tonnes in 2011.

The lower quotas for 2011 are expected to create a situation characterized by an imbalance between demand and supply. One of the most important markets for herring, Ukraine, expects to have its supplies of herring cut by some 20%. Consequently, some price increases must be expected.

African buyers have been asking for more and larger fish, but with the lower quotas, this is going to be hard to secure. Consequently, some expect prices to go up by as much as 25% in 2011. In addition, the shortage of herring may put some price pressure on mackerel, too.

Norway’s exports of whole frozen herring showed a slight decline (-1.9%) during the first nine months of 2010, but by the end of the year the decline was over 10%. While the main market for Norwegian herring, Russia, only showed a slight decline, there were some major changes in other markets. The second largest market, Nigeria, also showed a decline in imports by almost 17% during the first nine months of 2010, but bounced back in the fourth quarter and ended the year with an 8% increase in imports of Norwegian herring.

Egypt has only been importing Norwegian herring since 2008. In 2007, the country imported no herring at all from Norway. During the first nine months of 2010, Egypt imported 21 800 tonnes, compared with just 10 000 tonnes in 2009. The Netherlands also showed growth in its herring imports from Norway; +29.6% increase in 2010.

In general, Norwegian herring export prices were relatively stable during 2010, but there were considerable variations from market to market. The average export price inched up by 2.9%, while prices paid by Nigeria increased by 11.6%. Prices paid by Ukraine dropped by 2%.

The German market for herring developed well in 2010. Imports of frozen herring into Germany increased by 24.6%, to 22 800 tonnes during the first nine months. Norway remained the main supplier, and increased its market share, while Denmark and the Netherlands remained in second and third position.



The Japanese herring market also showed growth, as imports increased by 17% during the first nine months of the year. The USA strengthened its position as the main supplier, seeing its market share growing from 72.5% to 74.6%. Other main suppliers were Russia and Norway.

The French market, in contrast, weakened and exports fell by just over 3% during the first nine months of 2010. Norway is still the leading supplier, with a 61% share of French imports. Iceland and the Netherlands also increased their exports to the French market.

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