Cod price spiral hits whole food chain

NORWAY may have exported less cod over the past six months, but its fishing companies are receiving more money for what they do sell.
It is another sign of the upward price pressure on UK and European fish buyers, which in turn is impacting on performances, profits and jobs right down the food chain.
The price of cod (and haddock) on wholesale markets has risen by 20 per cent in the past 15 months and there is still no sign of a let up.
Norwegian exports of fresh cod, including fillets, between January and June this year totalled 50,800 tonnes, a decrease of five per cent on the same period in 2017.
But in revenue terms it was worth 1.8 billion kroners, up by NOK 45 million – or two per cent.
The market for frozen cod was even stronger. Exports, again including fillets, during the half year came to 39,000 tonnes, more or less the same level as last year. But the value, at NOK 1.4 billion, was NOK 138 million or 11 per cent higher.
The figures for June are even more dramatic, with a 21 per cent increase in volume to 6,200 tonnes and the value up by 40 per cent (or NOK 72 million) to NOK 249 million.
Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, an analyst at Norway’s Seafood Council, said: ‘Measured in Norwegian kroners, we have never had a stronger half-year for fresh cod.
‘With reduced cod quotas this year, it is the price of fresh whole cod that is driving the increase in value.’
The picture with pelagic fish was not so cheerful. First half exports of herring totalled 138,000 tonnes worth NOK 1.2 billion. While volumes were up by three per cent, the value fell by 12 per cent.
At 78,000 tonnes, mackerel sales were worth one billion kroners, down by 19 per cent in volume terms and 16 per cent in value.
King crab sales at 679 tonnes were worth NOK 195 million, down by four and two per cent respectively.
But shrimp (prawn) fishermen fared better, with volumes up 12 per cent to 4,600 tonnes. This catch was worth NOK 373 million, a rise of 23 per cent or NOK 69 million over the first six months last year.