Cod and salmon prices jump in first quarter as doubts over Russian exports grow | News


Cod and salmon prices surged in the first quarter of the year due to the “general inflationary environment” and the impact of sanctions on Russia, according to Mintec.

Factory-delivered Scottish salmon reached £7.90 per kg last month, an increase of almost £1.50 from December 2021, according to Mintec data. Norwegian wholesale frozen cod, meanwhile, hit £3.94 per kg in March, down from £3.35 in December and £2.52 in March 2021.

The higher cod price was driven by “higher fuel costs for fishing fleets” and increased costs such as “energy for sea freezing and processing labor”, said Ibi Idoniboye, senior market analyst at Mintec.

The war in Ukraine has also contributed to higher prices amid speculation whether Russia’s huge cod catches will make it to market, as Western nations apply sanctions to parts of the Russian economy. and threatened to increase tariffs and restrictions on fish imports from the country.

It comes as the EU last week offered to limit its consumption of fish caught by Russia as part of its next round of sanctions, which also includes a ban on Russian vessels docking at EU ports. EU.

The UK has been reluctant to raise tariffs on Russian fish imports after reports of ‘panic’ in the sector. Seafish estimated last month that Russian catches accounted for around a fifth of all whitefish eaten in the UK. The actual fraction is likely higher, as the Russian fleet transports a significant portion of its catch to China and Germany for processing and sale in markets such as the UK.

According to Idoniboye, Europe and the UK obtain “at least 32% and 12% respectively” of their cod imports from Russia, percentages which “increase considerably given that the EU and the UK are also dependent on China for cod imports”.

“China imports half of its cod from Russia, which is processed and re-exported to Europe,” Idoniboye said, adding that supplies had already been tightened by a 20% cut in the country’s Barents Sea quotas. Norway and Russia.

For salmon fishing, the sources of cost inflation were fuel, feed and labour, MIntec said, as demand for UK salmon increased due to outbreaks on farms in Norway. and in Chile.

“Essentially, demand far exceeds supply,” Mintec said, with the market further squeezed by “limited volumes in cold storage.”

The EU remains a key market for salmon fishing in the UK, which saw its exports plunge last year after falling demand due to coronavirus restrictions and trade rules changed by Brexit.

While sales rebounded later in the year as businesses got to grips with the post-Brexit trade regime, UK seafood exporters were again reporting bureaucracy headaches in early 2022 after that the EU has introduced a revised set of export health certificates.

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