Fish buyers face erratic month – report –

Fish buyers face erratic month – report Published:  12 April, 2010 UK fish buyers face an uncertain month ahead  as fish supplies continue their erratic pattern of the last few weeks. M&J Seafoods, one of the main suppliers to the foodservice sector  say in their April market report that currency fluctuations, poor weather and the recession are combining to make life difficult.  At Grimsby over Easter  haddock reached near record  prices with one particular box auctioned for £5 a kilo.. Cod supplies will be just about OK thanks to the start of the Irish season, but prices generally are under pressure to exchange rates and prices could climb as the summer moves in. Haddock supplies are extremely short especially for smaller sized fish, says the M&J report. The rising dollar against the pound sterling is also putting pressure on pollack prices. In fact the weak pound is affecting a number of key species, including tuna. Buyers on the Humber are becoming concerned about the fall in white fish  supplies from Iceland – its main source of fresh and frozen fish –  which seems to be sending  more cod and haddock to the United States. There are also worries that the current five per cent levy on fish exports from Iceland may be raised to 10 or 15 per cent. Sea bass is becoming an increasingly popular fish on British restaurant menus, but M&J says the recession is hitting Greece and Turkey – two of the main suppliers of farmed bass –  particularly badly. Because of this some of the financially weaker fish farms have gone to the wall which means the more financially stable farmers are holding back on harvesting until prices rose. M&J said that, for this reason, prices were likely to continue climbing over the spring and summer months. The situation with lemon soles and plaice,  now improving in quality, was better, says the report.