High frozen skipjack prices are impacting global markets

From January to May 2022, frozen skipjack prices were, on average, 33 percent more than the same period in 2021. 

As a result, during the first quarter of 2022, frozen skipjack imports decreased in Thailand, the Philippines, Ecuador, and Spain. 

Import costs of frozen skipjack jumped substantially from USD 1 300/tonne in October to USD 1 540/tonne in November 2021, indicating an 18 percent increase for delivery to Thailand after maintaining steady for over five years. The growing price trend persisted during the following six months, hitting USD 1 950–2 000/tonne in April 2022 before softening somewhat to USD 1 800/tonne in May 2022. 

From January to March 2022, Thailand's frozen skipjack imports fell 20 percent to 118 250 tonnes yearly. However, total frozen tuna imports fell 17 percent to 160 490 tonnes during this time, offset by a 22 percent increase in frozen yellowfin imports to 28 330 tonnes. 

Frozen skipjack imports fell by 45 percent to 13 754 tonnes in the Philippines during the same period. For the same species in Ecuador, the import decline was 38 percent at 2 805 tonnes. 

The negative import trends for most tuna species in Spain persisted in the first quarter of 2022, with -35 percent for frozen yellowfin at 56 600 tonnes, -54 percent for frozen skipjack at 4 930 tonnes, and -53 percent for frozen albacore at 1 518 tonnes. 

The general catch status for skipjack in the Western and Central Pacific has improved since mid-May. Landings in the Eastern Pacific are also better, indicating reduced delivery prices. However, higher transshipment, transportation, and fishing costs are expected to maintain tuna prices higher than in 2021.

Tags: #tuna #skipjack #yellowfin #food #fisheries #prices #markets


China's "Greater Food" Approach and the fisheries and aquaculture sector

On 6 March 2022, President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China presented the Greater Food Approach in a high-level national political consultative conference meeting. This program will have a significant implication for the development philosophy of agriculture in China, including fisheries. 

In the past, China has emphasized its role in feeding more than 1.4 billion people, one-fifth of the global population with nine percent of the world's arable land. However, the Greater Food approach embraces a broader concept of "food", emphasizing the importance of developing various foods and adding diversification and nutritional food elements. 

Some relevant elements of the Greater Food Approach include: 

  • Satisfy better the need of the population for a better life, grasping the changes in people's food structure; 

  • Ensure grain supply and guarantee an adequate supply of meat, vegetables, fruits, and aquatic products. None of them should be lacking; 

  • Protect the ecology and environment, shifting the focus from farmland to the land resources in the whole country to develop, in line with their specific conditions, grain production, agribusiness, animal husbandry, fisheries, and forestry; 

  • Put in place the production structure and regional layout for modern agriculture aligned with market demands and sustainability; 

  • Harvest food from forests, rivers, lakes, and seas, exploring biological resources apart from traditional crops, livestock, and poultry resources; 

  • Advance the supply-side structural reform in agriculture, employing multiple means to develop and produce a wide variety of food items to achieve food supply-and-demand balance; and 

  • Meet the population's increasingly diverse food consumption needs.1 

This new approach brings several important implications to the fisheries and aquaculture industry: 

First, it emphasizes that the food supply shall reflect the changed food structure and consumption needs. As an essential source of protein intake, fish consumption per person in China has kept rising, reaching 45.48g/capita/daily for the urban area and 28.22g/capita/daily for rural areas. As shown in Figure 1, pork consumption has gradually reduced since 2018, and the overall consumption has been more diversified in recent years. 

Figure 1 

China's "Greater Food" Approach and the fisheries and aquaculture sector

Second, this approach expands land protection to other agricultural activities, encouraging its use according to its natural attributes and meeting market demands. For the fisheries sector in China, the production ratio (in volume) of aquaculture and fisheries reached 80:20 in 2020. The production relies heavily on aquaculture, and the availability of land resources is a crucial element. In 2016, China initiated a new zoning plan for 2030-aquaculture. According to the government, 1 555 counties have compiled and published zoning plans. Land available for aquaculture is estimated to be 350 million mu2 (approximately 23 million hectares). With city expansions and conflicting use of rural land, securing sufficient land for aquaculture becomes an important issue. (Guiding Document on Actions to Fully Promoting Rural Development in 2022, also called No.1 Document of 2022) link

Third, this approach underscores the importance of supply-side structural reform. This concept came in 2015, emphasizing "quality" instead of "scale". Producers and processors, as suppliers, shall enhance the quality of products and improve production efficiency by initiating institutional change, applying a sustainable and green production process, and considering consumption preferences. The policy of diversification of products aiming to meet consumer demand, and having better connections between producing and consuming markets, are also crucial elements. 

Tags: #China #policy #food #fisheries #aquaculture #reform #sustainability #market-driven


Caviar trade recovers in 2021

Trade in caviar reached a new record of USD 152.9 million in 2021, an impressive 63 percent increase from 2020. The 2021 result also exceeds pre-COVID-19 levels.

Tags: #caviar #trade #fish #seafood

Caviar trade recovers in 2021
Imports of caviar by main importing countries (million USD)
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
United States of America 13.1 15.8 17.4 18.8 17.0 36.6
France 9.6 13.0 14.8 14.2 11.4 19.6
Germany 3.8 4.0 5.2 7.4 7.7 10.9
Japan 7.4 7.4 9.0 11.0 8.1 10.6
Switzerland 4.0 3.7 4.2 4.3 4.4 7.2
Others 38.5 44.1 50.4 50.8 45.2 68.0
Total 76.4 88.1 101.1 106.5 93.9 152.9


Possible new squid fisheries

In Alaska, there have been reports of a possible new squid fishery developing. Fishers operating in the Lynn Canal have noticed that more squid has been observed. Trial jigging gave reasonably favorable results for catching the so-called magister squid (Berrytheuthis magister). The main reason for this species to be found this far north is the warmer waters. The initial period of warmer waters was back in 2014, and soon the magister squid started appearing in the region. Whether it will constitute a sustainable fishery is yet to be seen.

Another region that may become a new squid fishing area is Canada’s Gulf of Saint Lawrence, where the northern red squid (Illex illecebrosus) has been observed in growing numbers. Again, warmer water temperatures are the leading cause of this migration. The northern red squid has previously been known to breed off the North and South Carolina coasts. The species is a voracious predator feeding on capelin, shrimp, and juvenile cod. The squid can be a food source for halibut and other predatory fish species.

There is no commercial fishing of squid in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, but it could develop into an interesting fishery depending on the size of the stock present there.

Tags: #squid #new #fisheries #Canada #oceanwarming #Alaska


Norwegian exports of fisheries and aquaculture products to the Russian Federation and Ukraine

Norway exported fisheries and aquaculture products worth NOK 11.3 billion in February, the highest value for this month, representing an increase of 30 percent, compared with February last year.

The Russian Federation no longer represents a significant market for Norwegian seafood exports. Since the invasion of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Norwegian seafood exports have declined drastically. In 2014, Norway exported seafood worth NOK 3.4 billion to the Russian Federation, and in 2021, this amount fell to NOK 250 million, representing only 0.2% of total exports.

On the other hand, exports to Ukraine increased from NOK 900 million to NOK 2.2 billion in the same period, representing 1.8% of the total export value.

Tags#Russia #Ukraine #Norway #market #exports

Norwegian exports of seafood to the Russian Federation and Ukraine 2014 - 2021 Table
Table 1: Norwegian exports of seafood to the Russian Federation and Ukraine 2014 - 2021
NOK 1000 % of total
Year The Russian Federation Ukraine Total Exports The Russian Federation Ukraine
2014 3 367 332 899 963 68 845 396 4.89% 1.31%
2015 94 085 641 424 74 548 428 0.13% 0.86%
2016 36 751 918 448 91 633 165 0.04% 1.00%
2017 95 270 948 705 94 527 599 0.10% 1.00%
2018 112 302 1 066 837 99 016 442 0.11 % 1.08 %
2019 139 638 1 366 990 107 260 901 0.13 % 1.27 %
2020 192 936 1 601 362 105 714 299 0.18 % 1.51 %
2021 248 130 2 201 621 120 813 305 0.21 % 1.82 %
Source: Norwegian Seafood Council


Spring festivals in Japan increase seafood sales in restaurants and catering services

Since late March, seafood consumption in Japan has improved due to the Spring festival celebrations in April and May. The COVID-19 local government restrictions previously imposed and primarily limited to eateries were also lifted at the end of March, helping to improve restaurant and catering services sales. This change in the pandemic-related restriction pattern also allowed an increase in domestic travel, parties, and larger gatherings for people with vaccination records or negative virus tests. However, external borders in Japan are yet to open to tourists. 

Meanwhile, the market continues to import more frozen seafood due to their longer shelf life. Annual imports of the ultra-frozen tuna fillet (-60o Celsius) for sashimi or sushi usage increased by 23.3 percent, reaching 60 265 tonnes in 2021. This local demand spike was basically associated with the high seasonal sales during the Gregorian and Lunar New Year in January-February and the Spring festival months of April and May. 

During the same period, imports of processed shrimp also increased by 16 percent, reaching 29 000 tonnes. The food service sector is Japan's leading buyer of frozen processed seafood. 

Tags: #Japan #Tuna #pandemic #rebound #celebrations #seafood


Norwegian whitefish prices are still going up

Export prices for frozen whitefish from Norway are still climbing. Russian vessels that have been landing cod in Northern Norway have not been able to do so lately, which has caused supplies to become tighter. In addition, prices tend to climb when the season nears the end and supplies get stricter. This year, frozen cod exports to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, China, and especially the United States of America are considerably up. 

At the same time, fresh cod exports are declining, but prices are rising. In week 12, fob prices reached NOK 43.50 per kg. At the same time, in 2021, prices were somewhat higher at NOK 47 – 50 pr kg.

Tags: #Norway #whitefish #cod #prices


Fuel price hike upsets tuna catches and exports in the Philippines

General Santos City, located on the island of Mindanao, is known as the ‘tuna capital’ in the Philippines. It is also the largest landing base of sashimi-grade and other tuna in the Philippines.

Since March this year, tuna fishing in this region has been seriously impacted by the global price hike of fuel. According to the national tuna industry association, the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries Inc (SFFAII), tuna fishing companies and other operators in the Philippines have been recording significant rises in their operational costs due to the record-high fuel prices. Industry players had estimated that fuel costs, specifically diesel, take up about 60 percent of the total expenses of a regular fishing operation, depending on the distance of the fishing grounds.

General Santos City fish port complex received 234 894 tonnes of tuna in 2021 and exported USD 57.89 million worth of fresh, chilled, and frozen tuna, mostly sashimi-grade fish. Part of the landings, particularly skipjack and small yellowfin, were used for processing canned tuna for the domestic and export markets.

Annual exports of fresh, frozen, and canned tuna in the Philippines were USD 386.67 million in 2021.

Tuna exports from the Philippines Table
Tuna exports from the Philippines
Tuna species/products Value: in Million USD Percentage change 2021/2020
2019 2020 2021
Yellowfin, frozen (excluding fillets) 88.42 116.40 20.25 -82.61
Yellowfin, fresh/chilled ( excluding fillets) 16.5 7.54 11.67 +54.71
Skipjack, frozen 6.04 8.13 8.38 +3.14
Bigeye, frozen (excluding fillets,) 0.22 0 0.11 -
Tuna, processed and canned 320.95 344.73 345.06 +0.1
Total tuna including others 432.53 477.96 386.67 -19.1
Source: Philippines Statistics Authority

Tags: #Philippines, #tuna, #fuel #prices #crisis


The economic crisis severely impacted fishers in Sri Lanka.

Fish is a staple food in Sri Lanka, but it is also important as an export commodity. The worsening economic crisis has kept fishers moored at Negombo harbour, out of gas, and unable to reel in the day’s catch. This crisis has left coastal communities short of fuel to send their vessels out to the ocean, and the repercussions are rippling down to dinner tables around the country. Fuel is not arriving at the fishing village, with fishers who have to queue for hours to refill their motors.

The consequences of Sri Lanka’s shrinking catch are keenly felt at the fish market, with far fewer seafood making its way to stallholders and fewer customers passing through. Prices are sky-high, making fish not affordable for the poorer strata of the population.

Sri Lanka’s government admits that the current economic crisis is the nation’s worst since independence from Britain in 1948. Inflation is running rampant. The cost of diesel, when the fuel is available, has almost doubled in a matter of months.

Tags: #SriLanka #economic #crisis #fuel #prices


Shetland fishers complain about high fuel prices

Fishing fleets in Shetland have joined industry calls from across the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for urgent government help to stay afloat as fuel costs continue to soar. Skippers have voiced fears that important fish catches could be in jeopardy as they face the growing possibility they may have to tie up their boats and lay off crew as going to sea is becoming increasingly unaffordable. The conflict in Ukraine has seen the cost of marine diesel in the isles more than double since the same time a year ago, making fishing trips uneconomical and local businesses unviable.

Tags: Fuel, Prices


Guiding Document on Actions to Fully Promote Rural Development in China in 2022

It is a tradition that each year the first guiding document from top decision-makers of the Chinese government addresses agriculture. The “Guiding Document on Actions to Fully Promoting Rural Development in 2022” (No.1 Document) by the Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and the State Council of China was released on 4 January 2022. The document reveals the most important work for the entire year and guides the government’s actions at various levels. In summary, about the fisheries and aquaculture sector, the document addresses:

  • Food security has become a key theme for agriculture
    COVID-19 and global instability have brought challenges to food supply. Fish is included in the “Vegetable baskets” project, setting municipal governors directly responsible for stable supply.
  • Land for aquaculture
    The document mentioned the importance of securing sufficient land for aquaculture production for the first time. The aquaculture and fisheries production ratio in China reached 80:20 in 2020 (in volume). Freshwater aquaculture plays a crucial role in securing supply. As a result, land protection has been emphasized this year as a critical measure to ensure a stable supply.
  • E-business and infrastructure as vital aspects of rural development
    Following the strategy put forward last year requiring a distribution network at a county, town, and village level, the recently released document calls for strengthening the cold chain service network and connecting the production and consumption market directly using internet platforms.
  • Enhancement of supply chain traceability system and alert and monitoring system
    This is the first time it was proposed to establish a food safety traceability system covering the whole supply chain.
  • Integrated Information Dissemination System for Supply and Demand.
    The document proposes establishing an integrated information dissemination system to communicate market prices to reduce information asymmetry and speculative activities. The system will primarily promote SMS communication, focusing on small fish farmers with little resources to obtain timely information.

Tags: Rural Development


Strike of fishers in Italy

The owners of the fishing boats docked in ports throughout Italy have decided to go on strike for one week. The strike, which began on 7 March 2022, was promoted by the Ancona Fishing Producers Association and was proclaimed to draw the government's attention to the increase in fuel price. The sector saw a doubling of fuel costs, which has reached one euro per litre despite being free of duties. For many boats, going out to sea risks being unproductive.

The fishers’ lockout created concern in the first fish market in Italy, the Agri-food Center of Rome. There will be a shortage of local product that represents an important component of the product marketed. The difficulties that fishing companies are experiencing with a sudden doubling of the fuel cost affect the entire supply chain, as the fish is transported in a cold chain system, resulting in high absorption of energy consumption."

Tags: Italy, strike, fuel

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