International shortage of squid supplies


While landings of the major cephalopod species increased from 2012 to 2014, a 17 percent drop in landings was registered for 2015. Squid was responsible for this entire decline, as both cuttlefish landings and octopus landings increased.

However, taking a longer-term perspective, cephalopod stocks have grown over the past five decades. According to a researcher at the Institute of Marine Research in Spain, global warming may have benefitted some cephalopods stocks as temperature changes have forced some predator species away from cephalopod habitats. Some upwellings have also disappeared, and this has eased pressure on cephalopods due to forcing predator species away as well.
In China, it is expected that cephalopod landings will decline in 2016 due to poor squid catches. Forecasts show that production from overseas fishing operations will drop dramatically, from 879 000 tonnes in 2014, to an estimated 450 000 tonnes in 2016. One would expect that this dramatic fall in domestic and overseas fishing operations would lead to increased imports, but this is not thought to be the case due to the lack of low-priced raw materials available. In turn, cephalopod imports are expected to drop from 635 000 tonnes in 2015 to approximately 510 000 tonnes in 2016.
Consequently, China's processing industry will have a lack of raw material in 2016, and thus cephalopod prices, mostly for squid, are expected to rise dramatically on the Chinese market. Indeed, squid prices in this market have already doubled.

El Niño affected squid landings in Chile and Peru significantly this year during the winter and spring. As a consequence of poor catches, prices of squid have risen by up to 30 percent in these countries. Price spikes have led to a raw material crisis for some processors, such as a Thai processing company, which earlier built new processing facilities that were to rely on raw material from Chile and Peru.

Argentina has also had a terrible squid season, although this is part of a longer-term trend. Landings have dropped for the third year in a row. Comparing only the first four months of 2016 and 2015, landings fell by 57.6 percent, from 75 200 tonnes to just 31 900 tonnes. Due to the very tight supply situation, prices were up by 29 percent, so that the total sales value dropped by 32.2 percent, a significant reduction.

In the USA, NOAA announced in late May that squid remains an important factor in California's fishing industry. However, due to El Niño in 2015, squid landings dropped significantly. In 2016, there have been some signs of improvement, but landed volumes are still quite low.

Squid inventories in Japan are at a record low level, with approximately 40 000 tonnes in storage at the end of May. This was 7 percent below the figure for April. The reasons for this development are both poor domestic catches and reduced imports from the main suppliers. It is expected that inventories will continue to fall as poor landings have continued, and there has been no increase in imports, rather the opposite. Processors are now asking the government for increased import quotas due to the poor domestic landings.


Japan saw a decline in imports of squid during the first half of 2016, from 38 200 tonnes in 2015 to 34 500 tonnes in 2016 (-9.7 percent). All of the major suppliers to Japan shipped less squid during this period. China, which still accounts for about half of Japanese squid imports, reduced shipments by almost 6 percent to 17 400. Chile and Peru reduced shipments of squid to Japan by 19 percent and 37 percent respectively.

While imports into Japan declined, squid imports into Spain during the first half of 2016 increased by 5.9 percent to 52 400 tonnes. Though there were reduced amounts being shipped by the main supplier, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) by -19 percent, the second largest supplier, India, shipped 11 500 tonnes, up by 46 percent compared with the same period in 2015. Of the other important suppliers, Morocco, China, the USA and New Zealand all increased exports of squid to Spain during the review period.

US imports of squid seem to be relatively stable. During the first six months of 2016, the USA imported 33 400 tonnes of squid compared with 33 500 tonnes during the same period in 2015. However, looking at developments over the past three to four years, US squid imports have been rising. In 2015, total US squid imports amounted to 72 150 tonnes compared with 66 500 tonnes in 2010.

The report analyses the squid market situation over the period January-October 2016



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