Salmon prices at record levels

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FRESH salmon prices in both Norway and Scotland have been disappearing off the seafood radar screen due to unprecedented high levels since New Year.

Spot prices touched more than NOK 78 per kilo in Oslo, while in Scotland they hit between £8 and £8.50 a kilo (NOK 92 to NOK 98).

And while they are expected to ease back a little over the next couple of weeks, analysts say prices are likely to remain high in north Atlantic countries in the near future.

This historic rise began before Christmas and would normally drop back once the festive rush comes to an end.

But there is a shortage of both salmon and white fish on European markets, the latter due to bad weather at sea.

It now seems that the fortunes of salmon and cod and haddock are more interlinked than ever before so when supplies of white fish are low, consumers tend to switch to the farmed species, pushing up prices.

The situation also shows that salmon prices are becoming more volatile than in previous years. It is less than six months since they plunged to a historic low and close to production cost levels.

The rise is certainly putting a smile on the faces of fish farming executives. A spokesman for Arctic Fish in Iceland said it was a pleasure to harvest fish at the moment, although he admitted there are problems getting consignments out of the country because of the storms.

There are also worries of consumer resistance if the very high prices continue through the winter.

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