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Fish & seafood outlook

Fish & seafood outlook

What's happening in the market in May

MAY AT A GLANCE:

  • In season & at their best: Dover Sole, Witch, Whiting, Brill, Crab, Monkfish, Turbot, Squid, Mussels, Black Bream, Megrim, Rock Oysters, Plaice.
  • Salmon – Prices may ease to start with but limited biomass and reduced harvests will cause prices to rise.
  • Cod & Haddock – Good availability and prices but Haddock is spawning which will affect the quality; defrosted fillets can be used as an alternative.
  • Sea Bass & Bream – Good availability and prices continue.
  • Tuna & Swordfish – Expected steady landings and stable prices.
  • Frozen Soft Shell Crab - Shortage of meat in the market is due to poor weather in Indonesia in 2018 and a slow start of the new season.
  • Frozen Scampi - Long-term decline in Scampi landings has forced priceincreases to Scampi boats and processors.

CURRENCY (as of 16th April): Britain and the EU have agreed to delay Brexit until 31st October; however, the UK will be able to leave earlier if it ratifies the withdrawal agreement. There are expectations that the Sterling could rise if cross-party talks break Brexit deadlock. With no significant Brexit-related developments, markets should remain range-bound near-term. But the possibility of months of further uncertainty in Britain has already caused business confidence to hit its lowest point since 2012.* Against the Euro, US Dollar and Norwegian Kroner, the British currency is currently trading in the area of €1.156, $1.306 and 11.08NOK respectively. (*Source: thetimes.co.uk)

FRESH SALMON

- We may see Norwegian prices ease at the start of May, but with limited biomass in the 2017-Autumn and 2018-Spring generations, supply is likely to stay tight until the 2018-Autumn fish become available later in the year.

- Price increases in May will also be driven by reduced harvests due to four Norwegian bank holidays and farms attending the annual Seafood Expo.

- Higher sea temperatures will trigger spring delousing to ensure effective control of sea lice later in the year, although this should not affect the quality of fish.

- Globally Chilean and Canadian prices are expected to continue rising and, similar to Norway, peak in the month of May.

FRESH WHITE FISH

- Cod & Haddock – Prices will generally be driven by the post-Easter effect where more fishing, and therefore more availability, will drive prices down. However, April/May is Haddock’s spawning season when flesh becomes softer so the quality of the fillets is deemed poorer; defrosted skinless fillets should be a better option in some instances.

- Whiting – Similar to the above, prices will soften after Easter.

FRESH FARMED SEA BASS & BREAM

- Good supply on both Bass and Bream from the Mediterranean with steady pricing.

FRESH EXOTICS

- We expect good landings on Tuna and Swordfish at present and hopefully stable prices going forward. We will source Tuna from Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Sword from Sri Lanka, the Seychelles and India.

- Other exotics remain in low demand at the moment.

FRESH LOBSTER

- Landings are slowly increasing thanks to higher water temperatures but prices still remain high compared to Canadian Lobsters.

FRESH FLATFISH

- Dover Sole - Landings may slow up a little towards the end of May; we won’t see Dovers back in season until September.

- Brill - Landings are driven by the inconsistent weather and are causing prices to fluctuate.

- Witch – Also known as ‘Torbay Sole’ – plentiful landings are expected of this cheaper alternative to Lemon Sole and Plaice.

FROZEN SOFT SHELL CRAB

- Soft Shell Crabs have been short for a number of months following storms last year in Indonesia.

- New season has started extremely slowly with harvesting at one key supplier being 10% of normal expected levels.

- This has lead to both poor availability and extremely high prices across all sizes.

FROZEN SCAMPI

- The decline in Scampi fishing around the British Isles and Ireland continues with 2018 landings being down by 21% on 2017.

- To try and encourage greater supply and fishing effort, producers have increased the prices paid to boats for Scampi tails.

- The industry is also seeing additional price rises on coating ingredients, packaging and labour, which make up around 20% of the cost of making breaded Scampi.

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