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Fish & seafood outlook

Fish & seafood outlook

What's happening in the market in June

JUNE AT A GLANCE:

  • Great news! We’re fixing prices on some of our fantastic fresh products over the summer: Welsh & Scottish Mussels, Devon & Cromer Crab, Native Oysters, Rainbow and Scottish Loch Reared Trout.
  • Salmon – significant reduction in supply has caused prices to increase in the last couple of weeks.
  • Swimming Crab – shortage of raw material and continued strong demand are causing cost increases and availability challenges.
  • Exotics – patchy availability from India due to seasonal fishing bans.
  • Squid – Illex catches significantly lower YOY, prices at record highs.
  • Sea Bass & Bream – slow fish growth due to low water temperatures in Mediterranean meaning steady price increases.
  • Skipper’s Catch recommends: Grey Mullet, line-caught Bass, Hake, Plaice.

CURRENCY: The Pound has rallied recently following the snap election announcement in April to its highest levels in 2017 and although it has slipped a little since, it is still trading strongly against major currencies. Against USD, the Sterling soared to $1.29-$1.30 at the end of April and has kept reasonablysteady since. It is also trading against the Euro within the €1.175 and €1.19 range, and against the Norwegian Kroner between 10.90-11.25NOK. (as of 19th May 2017)

SALMON

- Pricing into Easter was lower than anticipated but there has been a sharp rise in prices since.

- Increases have been caused by a 15% reduction in supply over the last 4 weeks v 2016 due to:

  • cooler water temperatures slowing fish growth and causing some farms to stop harvesting;
  • shorter weeks due to public holidays in Norway;
  • transitional period between old (6kg+) and new generation that still needs to grow on;
  • ongoing health issues including lice infestation and heart disease.

- Prices are expected to ease slightly as we approach June but they will remain high.

FARMED SEA BASS & GILT HEAD BREAM

- Slower than expected growth of fish at this time of year due to low water temperatures in Mediterranean.

- Prices will continue to steadily rise until the new season starts in June/July for Bream and in August/September for Bass.

EXOTICS

- The annual fishing ban on the East coast of India ends mid June. A further ban will then be implemented to West Coast, which means availability from that region, including Tuna and Swordfish, will continue to be patchy and affect prices from other locations.

- The supply will decrease even further as Monsoon season approaches and lasts throughout summer.

DOVER SOLE

- The inshore day-boat season is now finished and the only landings coming in are from the deep water boats where the catch usually consists of mixed species as they don’t specifically target Dovers.

- Another run should start in September/October.

CRAB

- Prices are currently under pressure due to:

  • fairly static landings in the UK between 2011 and 2015 - while there are no quotas on Crabs there are limits on sizes caught and only boats with shellfish entitlements can target Crab;
  • increasing demand from the Asian markets for raw material and prepared products;
  • increase in minimum wage – picking Crab is labour intensive;
  • strong US Dollar leading to increases in the cost of fuel and plastic packaging.

OTHER FRESH FISH

- UK Scallops - The local landings are still not to the level normally expected at this time of year. Prices are forecast to stay flat instead of dropping for the length of summer through to September.

- Sardines - The UK season should start mid June but it may be delayed as it happened in the last couple of years. Current French stock is more expensive so the prices will stay at the high level until the local season starts.

- Sea Trout - Mid to end of June the Scottish fish should appear on the market after 6 months stock recovery period in the fishery. Current volumes come from Norway at more premium price.

WARMWATER PRAWNS

- 2017 raw material prices remain high with anticipated price decline not yet seen.

- Price rises have been driven by  a number of factors:

  • low Chinese production has meant increased imports to China;
  • controls on cash in India have restricted payments to farmers who have not always been able to afford to restock ponds;
  • Vietnamese production has not fully recovered from the droughts last year.

- May and June are the peak season for Prawns so we expect availability and prices to improve throughout summer.

LEMON SOLE

- Iceland will start running out of their yearly quota by the end of May/June.

- New 2017-2018 season quota is expected to drop to 400mt.

- UK catches of smaller size fish should be reasonable but larger grades 16oz+ may fetch higher prices due to limited availability.

BLUE SWIMMING CRAB

- Short supplies are affecting availability and pushing prices upwards.

- This has been mainly due to poor weather in the South East Asia restricting fishermen’s ability to go to sea. Another factor is the increased domestic consumption in Thailand putting pressure on stocks.

- The supply situation has been exacerbated by continued high demand in the US, where McDonald’s have launched a Crab burger on the back of the species popularity.

- We are expecting some improvement in the availability over the summer.

FROZEN WHITEFISH

- Atlantic Cod raw material remains high on the back of strong demand from all markets, poor supply on Pacific Cod and strengthening of the USD against the GBP.

- Haddock raw material continues to increase and is becoming difficult for processors to buy on the back of poor catching at the end of 2016 and going into 2017; raw material prices will continue to rise as demand remains strong.

- Frozen At Sea (FAS) Haddock in 5-8oz and Cod in 16-32oz are very limited and prices are high based on lack of fish coming through.

FROZEN SQUID

- The new season for Illex species in the South Atlantic started well but catches have reduced as the season progressed and are now 60% lower than 2016 level.

- This is the second poor season in a row, following last year’s catches affected by the El Niño, so inventories are extremely low and raw material prices are at record highs.

- Next season is for Todarodes species in September, there are however no early indications of the health of these stocks.

FROZEN LOBSTER

- Weather conditions in Canada worsened unexpectedly in the spring with stronger tides and cold water temperatures so the landings were lower than normally at this time of year, which in turn has driven the price up.

- In addition, China has emerged as a new market with the strong demand for Lobster growing at a significant rate.

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