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GLOBEFISH - Análisis e información comercial en pesquerias

Canned sardines - August 2011


There is a general decline in the canned sardine market in Europe.

Imports during the first quarter registered declining volumes in all major markets, and the outlook is uncertain for the next few months.

On the European market, Morocco is the main supplier to France and Germany, while Portugal is the main supplier to the UK. However, in June there was a shortage of raw material supplies as fishermen in Morocco had been on strike for some time. The processing industry, therefore, has been dependent on supplies from artisanal fishermen and from other sources.

Increases in labour costs in Morocco have contributed to pushing prices of canned sardines up, as has the increased price of tin plate. These price increases seem to have influenced the market negatively. In spite of the fact that there is a shortage of supplies, sales are not moving as would be expected. The market for canned sardines in West Africa is also undersupplied, but prices are high and consumers are holding back.
Although recent reports reveal a recovery of the stocks in some areas, the future is considered uncertain because of the unknown effect that climate change may have on the fishery. According to some experts, just one season of bad weather could ruin the improvement that has been registered recently.

The anchovy resource in the Bay of Biscay increased significantly lately, but researchers claim that survival of eggs and larvae is highly dependent of favourable weather conditions. In Northern Spain in particular, a number of initiatives have been taken locally to create special branding for high-quality locally processed anchovy products, whether canned or semi-processed. As a result, fishermen as well as processors are able to earn a price premium compared with imported products.

In South America, the anchovy fishing season started in June. The TAC is set at 400 000 tonnes for human consumption. During the period from January to March 2011, a total of almost 800 000 tonnes were landed, but most of this went for reduction purposes. Increasingly, small pelagics landings in South America are being channelled into the human consumption market.

The outlook on the canned sardine market for the moment is one of limited supplies and persisting higher prices. Much will depend on landings in major areas in the next year.

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