Fish prices rising, say suppliers –

Fish prices rising, say suppliers Published:  15 August, 2007

WHITE fish prices in the UK are likely to remain high for the next week or two at least – largely due to a reduction in supplies from Iceland, but better weather and the foot and mouth disease scare were also playing a part.

This is not just the view of processors at coastal markets around the country, but leading fish food service suppliers like M&J Seafoods.

M&J, which serves thousands of hotels and restaurants in Britain, said in its latest market report the availability of white fish was going to be tight this week, due to the extended holiday season in Iceland.

It was this situation that led to the cancellation of the Hull Fishgate Market on Wednesday and the concentration of Humber sales at Grimsby. However, fish is still coming in from Iceland with the Faroe Islands, Denmark and Norway helping to fill the gap. But M&J said prices for cod and codling in particular were high and were likely to remain that way at least in the short term. Haddock supplies were also tighter this week and prices up as a result.

However, the company said salmon prices, which fell back a few weeks ago, were now on the rise again, partly due to the improved summer weather in the UK, which had created a demand for salad style food. There were also some signs that the foot and mouth scare had led to an increase in demand for salmon and other fish.

M&J said supplies of wild Canadian halibut and the farmed variety from Scotland, along with some excellent quality Spanish farmed turbot were readily available.

In other areas, tuna supplies were expected to improve, along with Barramundi farmed in the New Forest in Hampshire, which was becoming increasingly highly prized as a top quality eating fish.

The UK trade is now waiting to see what impact the big reduction in Icelandic cod quotas, due at the end of the month, is likely to have on markets, but it could be several weeks before the picture becomes clear.

The supermarket chain Morrisons indicated recently that some of its customers were changing their fish eating habits by at last starting to switch from cod to other and newer varieties.

Brian Dixon, a senior fish manager from one of the company’s large stores, said: “They are starting to look for tasty alternatives to cod, such as barramundi. But instead of flying it in from Australia, our barramundi is now farmed in the New Forest, so we are supporting local producers and saving on food air miles.”

Further evidence of rising fish prices came today when Iceland announced that the average price achieved at its fresh fish auction markets in July this year was the highest ever recorded – up 7.2 per cent on the July 2006 figure. And the quantity sold was down by 18.3 per cent showing that the age old law of supply and demand will always be at work. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.