Fish oil - March 2014


Fish oil price is expected to hold in the first quarter of 2014, based on strong aquaculture demand coupled with supply constraints in the anchovy fisheries of Latin America.

The Gulf menhaden fishery is anticipated to maintain its high level of fish oil supply and exports achieved in 2013, based on a recent positive stock assessment that recommends harvests can be kept at current levels.


Production of fish oil was up 9% between 2012 and 2013, with a total of 386 000 tonnes reported for the first nine months of 2013. Latin America remained an important source of Omega-3 production, especially for human consumption, as this product is highly dependent on anchovy fisheries. With recent announcements of major quota reductions in 2014 for anchovy fisheries in northern and southern Chile, this could have implications for the supply of fish oil later in the year, especially for omega-3 producers and fish farmers. However, Peru slightly raised its anchovy quota for 2014 back to more normal levels, following last year’s El Nino reductions.  



The USA’s fish oil exports of 55 400 tonnes in 2013 are up 66% compared with 2012. The bulk of this increase came from the Gulf menhaden fishery, which posted a 143% increase in fish oil exports in 2013 compared with the year before.  Recently, the results of a three year stock assessment provided good news about the status of the Gulf menhaden fishery, with findings demonstrating that the menhaden stock is healthy at current harvest levels.

Latin America

Peruvian exports of fish oil fell 70% in 2013 compared with 2012 levels. This was the result of an El Nino year and related quota restrictions. Denmark and Belgium imported significantly smaller amounts of Peruvian fish oil exports in 2013, the lowest levels in the last five years. Chilean fish oil exports rose only 7% compared with the previous year, with exports to Denmark and Belgium falling, while China increased its uptake of Chilean fish oil in 2013.  


Strong salmon prices at the end of 2013, which were significantly higher than in 2012, coupled with warmer than usual temperatures in northern Europe in the beginning of 2014, may drive up demand for fish oil by salmon farmers in Northern Europe. This could exert pressure on the price of fish oil.
Given expected supply constraints in Latin America in 2014 and continually rising demand for fish oil by aquaculture and direct human consumption, it is unlikely that price of fish oil will return to 2012 levels anytime soon. 

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