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Fish & seafood outlook

Fish & seafood outlook

What's happening in the market in December

DECEMBER AT A GLANCE:

  • Best in season: Crab, Turbot, Mussels, Manila Clams, Cockles, farmed Bass & Gilt Head Bream, Cuttlefish, Oysters, Sardines.
  • Salmon – Norwegian prices are unusually stable for the time of year but are expected to rise in the coming weeks.
  • Cod & Haddock – Fresh fish will be readily available in the run up to Christmas. New 2019 Barents Sea quota cuts has been agreed which is having an effect on frozen headed & gutted (H&G) prices.
  • Bass & Bream – Continued good supply of both species with stable prices.
  • Tuna & Swordfish – Poorer availability towards the end of the month.
  • Frozen Mackerel – Following the quota cuts for 2019, fish prices will start increasing.
  • Frozen fishcakes & fish fingers - Prices are mainly driven by increases in raw materials like Salmon, Cod and Haddock.
  • Heightened demand, with prices peaking at Christmas time, will have an effect on fresh Scallops, Lobster, Turbot, Monkfish, Dovers, Lemon Sole and Shrimps.

CURRENCY: Following the draft of the UK-EU withdrawal treaty and fears of a potential political crisis in the UK, Sterling suffered the biggest one-day fall against the Euro since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016 and against the Dollar since October 2016. It is quoted at around 1.13 and 1.28 respectively. With the continued uncertainty around the exit deal being ratified by parliament, it is likely that Sterling will endure a bumpy few months. The Pound to Norwegian Kroner exchange rate is currently seen at around 10.84 NOK, coming down from the highs of over 11 NOK in the last few days. (as of 16th November 2018).

FRESH SALMON

- Norwegian prices are currently stable following small reductions - unusual for this time of year.

- Farms are reported to be struggling with a poor biomass growth due to persistent sea lice issues and average harvested weight being around 400g lower than in 2017.

- As European and Canadian demand for Norwegian product increases in the run up to Christmas, prices will remain volatile with increases expected.

FRESH COD & HADDOCK

- Fresh fish will be readily available in the first few weeks of December as we’ll have fish coming from Iceland.

- The end of December is likely to see poor weather hampering landings which will lead to high prices.

- We will have defrosted options available throughout the festive season to ensure a constant supply.

FRESH FARMED SEA BASS & BREAM

- Continued good supply of both species with larger 1-1.5kg Bass appearing on the market.

- There should be no price movements unless Brexit significantly affects the GBP-EUR exchange rate.

FRESH EXOTICS

- Availability starts to ease off due to holidays and unpredictable weather; even less availability is expected at end of the month.

OTHER UK FRESH FISH & SEAFOOD

- Scallops – Lower landings and great popularity on Christmas menus will push prices up.

- Lobsters – The Native season will come to an end in December so any catches will command a premium price. New season Canadian Lobsters are starting to arrive.

- Plaice – The spawning season will continue until March when flesh quality will start to improve.

- Mackerel – The main landing season is coming to an end.

- Clams & Megrim - Winter weather will impact landings.

FROZEN FISHCAKES, FISH FINGERS & GOUJONS

- Price pressure on fishcakes is mainly driven by increases in raw materials like Salmon, Cod and Haddock.

- Goujons inflation is led by UK customers’ demand for non-pulse landed Plaice (unsustainable fishing method used by Dutch fleet) and a shortage of Lemon Sole.

FROZEN & CHILLED CRAYFISH

- China’s high demand continues with the majority of Crayfish being sold on their domestic market.

- As a result European importers are facing significantly lower availability and inflated prices.

FROZEN MACKEREL

- The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) have advised a cut in the 2019 northeast Atlantic Mackerel quota of 42% comparing to 2018 following revision of the available biomass.

- Prices of Mackerel are already firm but will increase further throughout 2019.

FROZEN WHITEFISH

- Cod & Haddock – further Barents Sea quota cuts have been agreed for 2019 between Norway and Russia; the Cod quota will be reduced by a further 6.5% to 725,000 metric tons while the Haddock quota was set at 172,000, which is a reduction of 15% on the 2018 total allowable catch. This will have a significant effect on already high headed & gutted (H&G) prices.

- Hake & Pollack – prices impacted by stronger demand on the back of other white fish species increases.

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