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GLOBEFISH - Análisis e información comercial en pesquerias

Small Pelagics - June 2012

01/06/2012

The lack of agreement between the four major European mackerel producers will increase the volumes of fish landed, and may push prices down. For herring, tighter supplies are indicated and therefore prices will continue to increase.

Mackerel

The stalled negotiations between the EU and Norway on one hand and Iceland and the Faroe Islands on the other to find an agreement on a joint TAC for mackerel could be regarded as a potential threat to mackerel stocks. This may result in unstable markets, and, if the situation is not resolved, the total catch is likely to be above the limits recommended by ICES.

As no agreement was reached on a total quota, Norway and the EU set a joint quota of 577 553 tonnes for 2012 (181 085 tonnes for Norway and 396 468 tonnes for the EU), while the Faroes and Iceland set their own quotas. According to Norway and the EU these are too high and could endanger the species.

Supplies of mackerel have declined over the past two years, but the situation could change as the major fishing countries are setting their own quotas. This could mean that the high prices experienced lately may come down in the near future.

Norwegian mackerel exports declined in volume last year by 11.2%, but prices increased significantly, so the total value of exports increased by 16.5%. Japan is the main market for Norwegian mackerel with 75 200 tonnes imported in 2011, followed by China with 57 7000 tonnes.

At the beginning of 2012, it looked as if the growth in exports was likely to continue, as January set a new record. However, in February, there were signs of a weakening market, although exports increased.

Herring

Norwegian exports in 2012 dropped dramatically in volume by 37%, pushing prices up because of tighter supplies, so the value of Norwegian frozen herring exports declined by only 5.4%. This trend continued into 2012 and exports continued to decline but prices are 60% higher than a year ago.

Russia is the largest market for Norwegian herring but imports in 2011 fell by 35% compared with 2010. Japanese imports declined slightly from 36 500 tonnes in 2010 to 31 800 in 2011. The USA is the main supplier and accounts for 73% of the total.

In Germany, imports of frozen herring declined by 32% but imports of fillets increased significantly to almost 51 000 tonnes from 44 423 in 2010.

French imports also declined in 2011 to 7 071 tonnes. The main suppliers were Norway and Iceland.

Although prices of herring had been on an upward trend for a long time, prices declined slightly in January and February 2012.

Canned sardines

The canned sardine market in Europe registered significant reductions last year. Imports into the three most important markets, France, UK and Germany, declined in 2011 by 18%. The main supplier to those markets was Morocco.

Lower landings of anchovy were reported in southern Africa (40% lower compared with 2010), mainly affecting the production of fishmeal. The domestic demand for canned anchovies within South Africa improved but international demand was weaker.

In the USA, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission imposed a 37% cut in menhaden quotas in an effort to curb the decline of these stocks. Menhaden stocks have been reduced to just 8% of historical high levels.

Outlook

The lack of agreement between the four major European mackerel producers will increase the volumes of fish landed, and may push prices down.

For herring, tighter supplies are indicated and therefore prices will continue to increase. Lower imports in most of the markets were registered in 2011, but prices went up. This is expected to continue into 2012.

The demand in Europe for canned sardine/pilchard seems to be slow, but in other regions, notably southern Africa, the demand is good and rising.

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