internews

The European Union and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) have signed the most far-reaching trade agreement in history, after almost two decades of negotiations.

The pact, aimed at bolstering political and economic relations in both regions, will benefit numerous sectors, mainly the automobile and agricultural-food industries, especially in terms of tariffs.

This unprecedented rapprochement between Europe and South America will entail new business opportunities and a greater access to assets and services. Once the agreement is in place, we will witness the integration of a market of almost 800 million people.

The European Commission has announced the complete closure of cod on the east side of the Barents Sea, an emergency measure adopted to safeguard the resource.

In view of the swift fall in the population and the imminent risk of the species disappearing, cod catches will be banned until December 2019, and this will affect all fishing vessels.

The EC has looked into the scientific evidence warning of this situation and has discussed measures with the Member States during a meeting of the expert committee.

After 6 years of the ban on access to the neighbouring market of Argentine shrimp, Brazil has re-activated imports of this crustacean.

The Brazilian Court of First Instance revoked the precautionary measure instituted in 2013 by the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Farmers (ABCC), which prevented access to Pleoticus muelleri, alleging a sanitary risk while favouring local shrimp farmers.

Although Argentina has the go-ahead for exporting again and Brazil means an opportunity to bolster dispatch of shrimp, the companies in the sector appear cautious regarding the re-opening of the industry until the first sales are made.

Fish product exports from Peru rose to a value of 1,563 million dollars between January and May 2019, meaning a 24% increase relative to the same period for the previous year.

According to a report by the Institute of Research and Development in Foreign Trade, under the Chamber of Commerce of Lima (Idexcam), China is the main destination, accounting for 47% of fish product exports, valued at 735 million dollars.

The main products exported have been fishmeal, giant squid (known as jibia in Peru) and fish oil. The opening of new export lines has also helped, such as fresh and frozen horse mackerel, which are being widely accepted on overseas markets.

30th May marked the date for the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free trade agreement in the world since the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will involve the leading fisheries powers.

This means creating a single continental market of assets and services with free movement of people, goods and investment, similar to that of the European Union. At an initial stage, the 90% tariff on African products will be removed, although it is yet to be determined who will benefit from such a measure.

The AfCFTA will comprise more than 50 countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Angola, Namibia and the Ivory Coast. On 7th July, a Summit of heads of state will be held to lay the foundations for this new economic agreement.

Two important news items for the fishing sector have been announced by the Peruvian government over the last few weeks: the sale of scallop grew by over 50% in 2018, and the quota for giant squid has been cut back by 26.1% for this year.

According to figures from Peru’s Department of Economic Studies under the Ministry of Production (Produce), scallop exports in 2018 increased by 56%, reaching an economic value of 73.9 million dollars.

In addition to this, by ministerial resolution, Produce has established that in the course of 2019 450,000 tonnes of giant squid can be caught. This figure means a 26.1% fall in terms of the 609 thousand tonne quota set for 2018.

Higher weight individuals and the number of catches is on the rise. The Alaska salmon season this year is far more promising than for 2018, when the sockeye salmon campaign was particularly poor.

According to data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), since the season kicked off on 16th May last, in River Cooper, around 697,700 sockeye and 15,700 of chum and king salmon have been caught.

The market has collapsed. This uncertainty echoes across to China and the unknown element arises as to what is going to happen next. Who knows? The game is served.

Seafood from the U.S.A. sent to China for processing and subsequent reexporting will not be subject to the retaliatory tariffs that the Asian country will be applying.

The fact is that the 25% tariffs announced by China for North American sea products have entered into force. Such tariffs arose in response to those set by the Trump administration.

This was announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S.A. (NOAA), to calm North American companies dependant on Chinese manpower to process, salmon, pollock and other products.

Because of the trade war and the 25% tariffs imposed by China in 2018, Alaska’s fisheries industry has been particularly damaged. For this reason, Alaska is on the look-out for new trade destinations.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has announced that it seeks to expand its brand of seafood products from this state to other markets apart from the Asian giant, which is currently its main country for exports and a reprocessor of fish products.

Thanks to a federal agricultural promotion subsidy of 5.5 million dollars, Alaska is seeking to reach non-traditional markets such as the Asian southeast and South American countries.

In the wake of changes in the fisheries law for giant squid, passed by the Chilean government, three companies have announced the closure of plants this month, which will mean that around a thousand will lose their jobs.

The company, PacificBlu, will be closing its giant squid processing plant around mid-year in the town of Talcahuano. Alimar will be following suit with its processing plants in Coronel and Lota, and Landes company will also stop operating its squid processing line.

Such measures occur as they are unable to adapt their fleets to the new legislation, which restricts catching methods for giant squid used by the jigger or handline fleet.

China’s fish product processing sector is going through numerous problems, according to a report recently published by the China Industrial Research Network.

One of the main reasons is the lack of manpower, increased costs and insufficient investment in research and development. Also, data on 2018 show a slight drop in volumes of processed and exported fish products.

A priori, this sector appears to be strong in terms of scale, although it may crumble as its main advantage lies in low cost manpower, and this will fade away at any time.

The European Commission has published a list of North American products valued at USD 20 billion that will foreseeably have taxes imposed on them. The list covers a wide range of goods exported from the U.S.A. to the E.U., from aircraft to chemical products.

In terms of seafood products, the list includes Pacific salmon, frozen cod, Alaska pollock, lobster, shrimp, scallop and squid, for a total value of around 840 million.

The proposed tariffs, subject to public consultation up to 31st May next, come in response to a drawn-out dispute over the subsidies paid by the U.S.A. to the manufacturer of the Boeing airplanes, and by Europe to Airbus.

Recently updated data by the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO) points to Chinese domination in waters of the Southwestern Atlantic (Zone 41).

The fisheries superpower, with the largest fleet in the world, landed over 127 thousand tonnes of illex and loligo squid in 2018, exceeding the catches of the Spanish fleet by almost 18%.

In the medium term, China will also have its own mega-port in Uruguay, which will allow it to consolidate its superiority.

Although the 2019 Argentinean illex season opened with good yields, since week 5 a downward trend has been observed in catches, which have reached their lowest level over the last few days.

According to sources in the sector, production has fallen from initial 34.6 tonnes/day down to 2 tonnes/day per vessel, so that it appears to be a fact that the Argentinean illex campaign will not give good results.

As far as sizes are concerned, double S and S predominate.

The Chilean salmon industry has announced at the Seafood Expo North America BOSTON 2019 its commitment to reduce the use of antibiotics by half in the sector by the year 2025.

The Chilean Salmon Antibiotics Reduction Programme (CSARP) has been developed by the Association of the Chilean Salmon Industry (SalmonChile), in collaboration with the Chilean Salmon Marketing Council (CSMC) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA).

This historic initiative sets out to improve the sustainability of the resource and responds to a worldwide concern over the long-term consequences that the drugs being used may have, in order to improve the reputation of Patagonian salmon.

Uruguay has given the green light by passing presidential decree 54/19 for the port project that the Chinese group, Shandong Boama Fishery, hopes to install in Punta Yeguas.

The construction of this logistics base for 500 Asian fishing boats will entail an investment of over 200 million dollars and will include a shipyard, a supply centre for vessels, a deposit plant, a freezing and processing facility as well as a free trade zone.

The Executive decree has generated controversy as the proposal was not tabled with the Legislature, while it has aroused resistance among locals, fishermen and environmentalists.

The international shrimp industry has witnessed prices for this crustacean falling to minimum values, a price reduction viewed as the most drastic in the past five years.

Unit prices touched rock bottom in June 2018 in the main exporter countries such as India, Ecuador and Vietnam.

Producers around the world are concerned over this behaviour of the price on the international market since the fall in values threatens to continue up to 2020 if the increased production continues by the large-scale global suppliers.

The Asian giant will build a fishfarming centre 130 nautical miles off the coast of Rizhao, in Shandong, to produce 45 thousand tonnes per annum of salmon, the aim being to meet the growing domestic demand.

The project, which has been promoted by the Ocean University of China in conjunction with two companies, will call for an investment of over 640 million dollars. It will cover a fishfarming area of 3,000 hectares, including an industrial complex on land and I+D installations, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The first batch of farmed salmon is scheduled to reach the market towards the end of 2020.

China has become a large-scale source of financing for African countries, particularly in terms of infrastructures, playing an increasing important role in port projects, as echoed in the report “Strengthening Africa’s gateways to trade” by PwC.

Chinese expansion on Africa’s seaboard is on the increase and there are already almost 20 infrastructures and fishing ports where this country has collaborated, with an investment of around 3,300 million euros.

Today, this Asian country is moving ahead with negotiations with Santo Tomé for a fishing and commercial project, at the same time as Chinese investors are working alongside the government of Sierra Leone in the construction of a new fishing port.

Although the pangasius sector in Vietnam was one with the highest growth rates in 2018 due to exports, Vietnam’s fishfarmers may be going through problems due to overproduction.

According to the Viêt Dragon Securities Company (VDSC), this high pangasius production could lead to excess supply, with a knock-on effect in a generalized fall in prices.

All this would involve considerable losses for the Vietnamese fishfarms for the next season, as Vietnam News advised.

The European Parliament has given its approval of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between the European Union (EU) and Morocco, which already received the support of the Fisheries Commission back in January.

The new agreement, signed by the EU and the African country, covering waters off the Western Sahara, expects to increase the licences granted to the European fleet and raise catches up to 100,000 tonnes per annum.

The EU will pay 52 million euros per year to Morocco to give access to 128 community ships to its waters, 12 million euros of which will be paid by the European shipowners who will benefit from the licences issued.

On 1st February 2019, the largest bilateral treaty came into force, which sets out to liberalize trade of goods and services between Europe and Japan, thanks to which relations between the two blocks will be given a considerable boost.

 

Thanks to this agreement, 99% of tariffs will be suppressed gradually over the next 15 years on Japanese products sold in the EU, and about 94% on what Japan applies to imports from Europe. This will entail an annual saving for European exporters of one thousand million euros in customs rights.

 

Tuna, hake, shrimps and other fish and crustacean species exported from Japan to Europe, with tariffs currently as much as 26%, will notice how they will be reduced from now on.

In the framework of the G20 Summit held in Argentina early this month, U.S.A. and China have agreed on a trade ceasefire involving holding off imposing tariffs and opening up markets between the two countries.

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have agreed to start negotiating in order to reach a consensus within a period of 90 days. This way, U.S.A. will not increase tariffs from the current 10% to 25% as from 1st January, as expected, on Chinese products valued at 200,000 million dollars.

Lastly, if over the next few months no trade deal is signed, this increase will be applied as of 1st March.

Whether it is because of the trade war between China and U.S.A. or because of the increased demand in this Asian country, the pangasius industry in China is taking off.

Vietnam’s Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) warns of an increasing growth of Chinese companies that are now investing in pangasius production. The Association recommends to Vietnamese exporters to adjust their processing and trade plans to this market.

According to official statistics, in the first 9 months of the year, China accounted for 23.6% of exports of Vietnam pangasius, for a value of 344 million dollars. Since 2017, the Chinese market has become the largest for Vietnamese pangasius.

While U.S.A. and China were disputing in a tariff war, the Asian giant has been working to improve its trade relations with India, as reported by Bloomberg.

The two most densely populated nations in the world have made progress in bilateral negotiations, which is looking promising for the leading world exporter of sea products and the leading world exporter of shrimp.

Alongside this, conversations continue between China and India and the members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) –Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the 10 countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)– for the advancement of free trade in Asia.

Peruvian exports of processed products based on giant squid may rise to 500 million dollars this year, according to projections by the Committee for the Sustainable Management of the South Pacific Giant Squid (Calamasur).

In the words of Alfonso Miranda, Chairman of Calamasur, about one million tonnes of giant squid (Dosidicus gigas) is catched in the East Pacific Ocean, of which 45% is concentrated in Peruvian waters.

“This is the leading species for human consumption with an added value given in the country, besides being the species that generates most employment in the fishing sector”, Miranda stated.

Chile’s Minister of Economy, José Ramón Valente, and the Minister of Customs of the People’s Republic of China, Ni Yuefeng, recently signed new agreements that will open up trade exchange between the two countries and dispatch of Chilean fisheries products into the Chinese market.

The first of the agreements sets out the guidelines for implementing electronic certification for exporting aquaculture products during 2019.

Alicia Gallardo, the national director of Chile’s National Fisheries Service, Sernapesca, was optimistic, trusting that these agreements will allow for increasing exports of sea products, especially of fresh salmon.

In view of the tariffs imposed Donald Trump’s government on Chinese products, imports of giant squid and other products from this country will fall, and the United States will be looking for more competitive prices from other suppliers such as Peru and Chile, according to the Trade Department of Peru (Ocex) in New York.

Peru is the main supplier of Dosidicus gigas for the United States. In 2017, about 7 thousand tonnes were exported, valued at 17 million dollars, according to Ocex statistics.

These figures will increase since the tariff war could promote Peruvian squid, which would be even more welcomed in the U.S. market.

For the second year in a row, landings of red shrimp have surpassed the 200 thousand tonne mark. According to the records of the country’s Undersecretariat of Fisheries, up to October, 212,886 tonnes built up on Argentinean docks.

As far as the distribution of the ports is concerned, the top 3 were Puerto Madryn (67,334 tonnes), Rawson (50,909 tonnes) and Puerto Deseado (35,665 tonnes).

The volume obtained is similar to 2017, so that it is scheduled to reach around 240 thousand tonnes of this crustacean in this South American country.

Fishermen in the regions of Los Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes are concerned about the cutback in the southern hake annual quota by almost 6 thousand tonnes, which would affect the entire macro-zone.

The Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Chile has decree that the catch quota for next year will be reduced from 20,000 to 14,800 tonnes, meaning a loss of 26%, which has led to concern in the sector.

Both industrial and artisanal fishermen have expressed the opinion that lowering quotas would be an abusive measure and do not rule out protests to attempt to have this resolution revoked.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved purchasing Alaska pollock to the value of 30 million dollars, to be distributed among different nutritional aid programmes.

This measure sets out to counteract the effects of the tariffs imposed by China on this product and to at least partially compensate for losses incurred by fishermen and coastal communities in Alaska due to the trade war between both countries.

Alaska pollock is a vital product for the Alaska region and for the United States in general since, in terms of volume, it accounts for a third of the processed sea products in the country.

The Asian country has taken over from Spain to become the main destination for Argentinean fish exports, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec).

Between January and August 2018, China acquired 76,152 tonnes of fish and seafood, valued at 304.3 million dollars. Indec has confirmed that this trend will continue.

Both squid and shrimp are the main species exported, heading the list of products dispatched.

Vietnam is still the main market for Ecuadorian shrimp, although direct sales from Ecuador to China grew by 390% in the first half of 2018, even surpassing the country’s exports to the United States.

Ecuador, one of the leading shrimp producers worldwide, has reached record levels over the past few months. Shrimp exports from this Latin American country rose by 19% in volume (244,395 MT) relative to last year, and by 14% in value, producing 1.58 billion dollars, according to CNA figures (the National Chamber of Aquaculture).

Exports of this Ecuadorian crustacean to Asia, including Vietnam and China, accounted for 62% of the total. Meanwhile, exports to the EU also grew, but exports to the United States decreased both in terms of volume and value. Dispatches to the EU also increased, although exports to the United States decreased both in terms of volume and value.

While the greater part of Alaska has noted little presence of red salmon so far this year, which is a cause of concern for the entire State, red salmon abounds this season in Bristol Bay.

Over 61 million red salmon have returned to the Bay this year, according to counts made up to the first week in August, which means about half a million individuals less than the record level attained in 1980 (61.7 million), according to the local media, KDLG.

This context of good returns and catches, alongside the increase in prices over the past few years, has risen the value of Bristol Bay´s salmon.

Trawling, a fishing method that is usually a controversial issue, both in Chile and internationally, can only be used in a clearly defined area of Chile’s maritime zone.

The Subsecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Eduardo Riquelme, announced the freeze on trawling, which will only be allowed inside a so-called “footprint” accounting for 2% of the country’s waters, distributed from north to south of the country.

Riquelme explained that this is the first step towards gradually replacing this fishing method with alternative mechanisms, and that in the future, trawling could be completely banned.

The summer season has been marked by low octopus catches off Morocco and Mauritania, a decrease that threatens to raise prices even more.

José Manuel Rosas, Chairman of the Fisherman’s Guild in Bueu, warned that “the octopus campaign off Morocco and Mauritania is not turning out to be as good as in previous years”. In this scenario, and in view of the scarcity of octopus in Galicia too, prices for this cephalopod are still on the rise.

Due to the current context, the campaign could be closed earlier.

By 2030, the Asian giant will reduce its fishing activity by almost 29%. This is one of the main conclusions drawn by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and reflected in the publication ‘The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture’ (SOFIA), presented at the beginning of the month.

China is currently the world’s leading producer of fish and, as of 2002, it is also the world’s largest exporter of fish and fishery products.

According to the report, it is predicted that, by including policy on progressive reduction of fishing in its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), the country will see significant decreases over the coming years.

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union could have a significant impact on the economy of the Falkland Islands, as tariffs would make Falklands seafood products less attractive to European consumers.

Considering that over 90% of the Falklands’ fishing tonnage is sold to Europe, these islands could face significant reductions in tax revenues and in the development funds generated by the industry, sources told Penguin News.

The islands’ Policy Unit has indicated several possible scenarios after Brexit becomes effective: a loss of market presence for its fishery products in the EU, especially in Spain; a decrease in exports (including the loligo squid); and the potential losses of millions for the Falklands’ fishing industry.

Congratulations are in order for Peru, as its fishing exports for DHC (direct human consumption) in the first five months of 2018 increased 80% as compared to 2017, according to data from the Fishing and Aquaculture Committee of the country’s National Industry Society (SNI).

This growth is mainly due to a greater presence of giant squid and hake, which both showed very good levels of production in March, April and May. The SNI hopes that this trend will continue over the coming months.

Furthermore, the Society’s president, Ricardo Márquez, has asked the Executive to create a working table on Fishing for DHC, so as to speed up procedures for exporting products from this sector and reach the same levels as Ecuador and Chile.

The Chilean Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill which aims to regulate the method for catching giant squid, in what may become the first significant reform of the law in recent years.

This bill seeks to ban the trawling system which dominates the industrial sector, aiming to ensure sustainable handling of this fishing resource. The species may only be caught using a jig and/or handline as fishing tackle.

Over the past weeks, meetings have taken place with the small-scale fishing sector over this national fishing law, which is now in the Senate, ready to face its second constitutional stage.

The world’s two biggest economies clash in a historic trade battle. On 6th July of this year, the first round of 25% tariffs, placed reciprocally by the United States and China, came into effect, affecting fish and other agricultural products.

China will place punitive tariffs on a wide range of US fishing products, mainly Pacific salmon, cod, Alaska pollack and California squid. This measure is a response to the harsh tariffs previously announced by the United States and to the Trump administration’s accusations of unfair business practices on China’s part.

CAPPMA (China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance) does not consider that the processing industry will be affected, as most products are imported tax-free because they are later re-exported.

In its report, the FAO corroborates what many consumers and industry have found: the price for octopus never stops increasing and it is the new seafood in vogue. The current scarcity of this product along with a strong demand worldwide have led the cost of some sizes, such as T4 (between one and a half kilos and two kilos) to double in a year and a half.

The law of supply and demand puts octopus as a resource between a rock and a hard place. The new but strong interest in the United States along with its increased consumption in Europe has led to increased exports. Fishing grounds in Morocco and Mauritania had marked falls in landings (e.g., of 20% in Dakhla, of 65% in Agadir and of 75% in Nuakchot). Right now, eager efforts are being made to find the product.

This situation is forcing companies to stock up with as much raw material as they can, in view of the need to supply the consumer over the coming months, in summer, which is the peak season for octopus consumption. Everything will depend on the start to the campaign in August.

There is no obstacle curbing exports of pangasius. This Vietnamese fish product generated an income of 430 million dollars, involving an interanual increase of 16%. This figure is still important taking into account the numerous challenges that the industry has faced recently, such as the lack of supply of raw material or the anti-dumping tariffs imposed on it by the United States (until now, the U.S. had been the main importer of pangasius worldwide).

The VASEP General Secretary (Association of Producers and Exporters of Vietnam), Truong Ding Hoe, gave a positive appraisal of this figure, while noting that, “if the Vietnamese companies want their prices to be competitive, they will have to solve how to deal with a sustainable growth in order to deal with the growing demand”. The objective of the industry for this year is to reach 2,000 million dollars in exports.

China has become the main market for pangasius, with an interannual increase of 42%. In order to keep up stability in exports, the VASEP is working on a two-fold approach: on the one hand, with processing plant inspection programmes to guarantee product quality; and on the other, with marketing strategies to consolidate Vietnamese products on the Chinese market.

Sushi is the product that is in vogue in the Spanish shopping cart. At least, that is the conclusión to be gleaned from the report recently published by Nielsen, highlighting the growth of the convenience food market. In this area – which groups together products associated with convenience for the consumer or “ready-to-eat” food – we find sushi, with a high interannual increase of 49.5%.

“Convenience products” are here to stay. They already account for 7.7% of the total in the shopping cart in the large-scale consumption market. To get an idea of its growth, one just has to compare the growth in 2017 of 9.5% for this type of product, with the 3.7% for the market as a whole.

Out of the large variety of foodstuffs and products available to the consumer today, the convenience sector is the one that has the highest growth rate, along with the so-called bio or sustainable products. This is due to the facilities made available to the consumer, besides the lack of free time on a day-to-day basis for cooking and household chores.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game published its production forecast for salmon in 2018. The prediction is set at 149 million individuals in production, which means a significant decrease of 34% in terms of last year’s outstanding figures.

The Alaska Government forecasts a production of around 70 million individuals of pink salmon, practically half of the historical figures of almost 142 million caught last year. For sockeye salmon, the forecast is for 52 million, which is down by two million compared with 2017, which was also a very good campaign.

Alaska’s chum salmon catch for 2017 totalled 25 million, the highest for the last 47 years, reaching the figure of 25 million individuals. This year’s catch is expected to produce 21 million chums, while coho salmon catches are expected to increase by 600,000 silvers, pegged at 5.8 million. This is the exception that confirms that this year the record amounts for last year may not be repeated.

The forecast for the Argentinean fleet is now a reality: landings of prawn reached a historic peak of 191,000 tonnes, according to the country’s Fisheries Subsecretariat. This figure is doubly positive if we take into account the fact that the total volume has doubled over the past five years.

Catches of Argentinean red prawn or wild prawn have once again made a new record, and this is fifth year in a row. With the closure of the fishery set for the end of October, an estimated 7.28% increase over the whole of last year is expected.

Regarding the matter that could be tabled about the sustainability of the species, given the exponential increase in landings, the National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (Inidep) ensures that the biological status is “healthy”. Despite there being growing pressure, the resource has responded better than expected. Efforts will not focus on continuing the growth of red prawn for the coming season.

The abundant catches off the Falkland Islands of Patagonian loligo are bringing its price down, even with the lack of Illex stock. Meanwhile, catches of giant squid off Peru and Chile have plummeted. In this second Patagonian campaign in 2017, the most caught size for this species was the C4 (12-14 cm).

Landings of the gahi variety have been correct off the Falklands for this year’s second campaign, which closed recently. In any case, catches have risen to 24,101 tonnes, this being 38% less than in the first campaign – 39,425 tonnes. At the same time, Dosidicus gigas seems to have vanished from the map. Some sources point to the fact that “the impact of El Niño in the water” could have affected this species since July/August.

Argentina’s Federal Fisheries Council recently authorized the stat of the Patagonian squid season for 10th January, where the jiggers will be looking for the summer spawning stock. It is hoped that 2018 will be better in terms of volume, while keeping prices up.

Octopus buyers are worried about the product. The Moroccan cephalopod continues to increase as a result of the low supply from several producer countries, coupled with the increasing popularity of this species. These factors mean that sales prices are below the cost at source. Buyers are using their ingenuity to continue supplying this product.

Could octopus die from success? The scarce supply and the increasing demand are causing buyers to find that costs at source are higher than their sales prices. One source confirmed that “the price is so high due to the small amount of octopus available”. Morocco’s octopus stock was completely sold in just a few days after the close of the season. Some specialized companies are diversifying their suppliers to be able to meet demand.

2017 is turning out to be difficult. In Spain, landings fell by 47%. In India and Pakistan, they are also very limited and they are unable to supply the local market and China, their main customer. The same occurs in Mexico. Conversely, according to information from Venezuela, catches there have been fairly good, with prices fluctuating between 6.5 and 8 euros/kg.

Several aspects influence the consumer when it comes to buying a product: the quality, appearance, source, etc. But however, the Study on Frozen Products recently presented by the Union of Consumers of Galicia shows that it is price that is the differential factor, above all else.

In its Study on Frozen Products, the UCGAL has determined that what is first and foremost for the consumer is the price. Although customers say that they are looking for quality, this is not the case when buying – according to the survey results. The study also reveals that far more importance is given to appearance or to evidence of frost and other signs of thawing out, rather than labelling. On top of that, the study highlights the fact that only 15% of those surveyed are aware of the glazing technique, which is vital for a correct conservation of many frozen products.

One interesting conclusion to be drawn from the Study is that over half of consumers (64%) believe that volumes of water or glazing in the fish or seafood bought are excessive, whereas only 17% consider them to be in adequate proportions.

Pangasius continues to find markets. The bad reputation of its consumption in the European Union and the change in the Agricultural Law of the United States led exports to these regions to fall, but the main pangasius producers have found a remedy in the Latin American and Asian markets, which are absorbing this fall in sales. At the same time, they continue to explore new markets such as the Middle East.

According to the FAO Globefish website, Vietnam (the chief exporter of pangasius worldwide) sold 140,000 tonnes of frozen fish (whole and fillet) to more than 50 countries during the first quarter of 2017. Among these exports, we note the fall in the EU (-14.5%) and the U.S.A. (-24.7%), but at the same time, Latin America and Asia have emerged as markets with the most potential. Interest in the Middle East is also observed, where last year, Saudi Arabia ranked as the eighth most important buyer worldwide.

If we look into other regions, we notice that Brazil heads imports in Latin America, with 30% of pangasius sales worldwide. In the EU, Spain continues to be the best importer, although the figure fell by 8.75%, with a volume of 21,100 tonnes.

Company directors in Peru and Chile have confirmed it – gigas has vanished. The good season happening in the first half of 2016, with 81% more in catch volume than in the previous year, has now sunk. The scarcity of product has led to a logical rise in prices and some companies have begun to think about the next season.

Following an overwhelming first half of 2017, landings of Dosidicus gigas are scarce, as confirmed by companies in Peru and Chile. Héctor Olaya, of Fisholg & Hijos, commented that “ships are coming in with 10% of their hold capacity, landing between 100 and 150 kilos”. He also pointed out that the price has been on the rise: “since July, 500-1000 g size tentacle has risen by $0.3”. Claudia Salazar, at Pesquera Villa Alegre, commented that “since May, catches have been decreasing, and right now nothing is being caught. If catches don’t pick up in the final months of the year, we shall have to start thinking about March 2018”.

When it comes to looking for causes, apart from El Niño are the continuous waves and variations in water temperatures. It is also thought that illegal fishing, occurring outside the 200 mile limit, hauls in an important volume of product.

The future of the APO market worldwide could involve obtaining new, powerful allies. More specifically, in the form of sales to the end consumer under white brands from large hypermarkets chains across the globe. Both Walmart in the United States and Mercadona in Spain have launched into marketing this species following the current trend, favoured by the low APO prices.

The North American giant, Walmart, has started to sell APO fillets from Trident Seafood, under its own white brand. It began with a commitment in 600 of its establishments with the Trident Seafood brand, but soon expanded to all of its more than 4,700 outlets in the United States, using their own brand. Mercadona too has begun a similar operation by launching frozen APO fillets on its shelves.

There is a differential factor that is motivating this type of operation. Since the end of 2015, only the “Alaska” classification was allowed to be used for producers in the region. This fact along with today’s low prices is inspiring and motivating North American producers to work on developing new products for new markets.

Juan Redini, Chairman of the Chairman of Argentinean Jigger Shipowners (CAPA) has just made an important announcement: he will propose to the Federal Fisheries Council of his country the opening of the 2018 catch campaign for Illex argentina – Argentinean squid – with the start of the year, “between 8th and 10th January”. This is bound to be good news for producers and customers.

Argentina’s illex season will start, if there are no upheavals, early than usual. CAPA’s Chairman, Juan Redini, is banking on opening the catch season early January. In this manner, hopes are pinned on keeping the price level for the end of the past season of “around 2,700 US&/MT for whole S, and from 4,500 US$/mt and 4,700 US$/mt for S pod”.

The campaign in 2017 began on 18th January, with good results at the outset. Redini hopes that Jap will once again be important in the illex campaign of 2018: “A few years ago, there were no sales and once again this market appeared in 2016, meaning competition when it comes to buying for European countries, which are important importers, such as Spain”.

Peru’s fishing sector has recorded an increase (101%) in catches over the past few months in terms of 2016. According to the Peruvian Ministry of Production, total catches rose to over 480,000 tonnes just during the last month, already with an accrued continuous growth covering 12 months.

Peru’s Ministry of Production reported that the fishing campaign in April has been exceptional. This marked increase has been mainly due to the increase in anchovy landings. The Ministry underlined the fact that “this result makes it possible to continue catching as one of the sectors that makes a positive contribution to national production”. More specifically, these catches for indirect human consumption increased due to the start of the 2017 season, in the central-north area of this Andean country.

Not only that, but Peru has increased landings of illex, hake, prawn and mackerel, thanks to the extremely favourable climatological conditions.

The Minister of Commerce for India, Nirmala Sitharaman, has just announced that the value of exports of fish products reached a national record high of 5,780 million dollars. This increase means 23% more than the 4,690 million dollars recorded in the previous tax year.

India has reason to celebrate. It has recently surpassed its historic record in sea produce exports, achieving a figure of 5,780 million dollars. The reason behind this is frozen vannamei shrimp, which accounts for 64.5% of total profits in dollars. This percentage means an increase in terms of value of 20.3% relative to last year. As far as the Minister Sithararaman is concerned, “diversification of fishfarmed species, the measures taken to guarantee quality and the increase in infrastructures were, to a large extent, responsible for this positive growth”.

Today, the main importer country of India’s vannamei shrimp is the United States (accounting for 49.55%), followed by countries in southeast Asia (23.28%), the European Union (13.2%), Japan (4.5%), Western Asia (3%) and China (1.4%). Frozen fish ranks as the second leading product in exports for India, with 26.1% in quantity, and 11.6% in profits.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC), based on the request from the industry, has decided to continue with the anti-dumping measures for farmed shrimp from Asia (China, India, Thailand and Vietnam). Conversely, it has agreed to revoke these taxes on imports of this product coming from Brazil.

The United States will continue to apply anti-dumping taxes on Asian shrimp. This decision will mean that the prices for this product will continue for a further five years. The director of the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), David Veal, pointed out that “we are grateful for acknowledging the risk for the industry of dumping these imports of shrimp”. He added that “in the shrimp industry, we hope for five more years of relief in terms of unfair practices in international trade”.

On the other hand, the Commission certainly did agree to eliminate the anti-dumping taxes on shrimp from Brazil. Said institutions coincide over the fact that these measures are vital for the North American industry, especially those related to Asia.

The F.A.O. has recently reported on the virus that is decimating the farmed tilapia population in Columbia, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel and Thailand. This virus does not affect human health, although it can cause problems in terms of food health. In Thailand, there have been outbreaks that have already caused the death of as much as 90% of the populations.

Tilapia populations are being affected by TiLV (Tilapia Lake Virus) in countries on three continents. The outbreak and spread have been considerable for one of the fish species considered to be very important in the world for human consumption, and the F.A.O. has launched a contingency plan recommending importer countries to intensify diagnostic testing, to demand sanitary certificates and to establish quarantine measures.

The importance of this fish is patent worldwide: in 2015, production rose to 6.4 million tonnes, with an approximate value of 9,800 million dollars. Its low cost makes it a key element in the food diet in developing countries. Today, its exporter countries are China, Indonesia and Egypt.

According to a market analysis presented by Rabobank, “China’s Animal Protein Outlook to 2020”, this Asian giant will be at the forefront of importing countries, drawing off the world fish and animal meat market. Certainly, this trend is set to be a game changer.

China will gradually cease to be the world’s major fish exporter to become the largest importer, according to Rabobank’s specialist, Gorjan Nikolik. The increase in labour costs and limitations on production will sustain production and processing. An employee in the Chinese fishing industry today earns around $400 a month, twice the figure of 5 years ago.

It is estimated that fish imports will increase considerably. According to the OECD, in 2022, there will be over 1,500 million people with fish consumption per capita of more than 45 kg per annum. To meet such a demand, 70 million tonnes per annum will be needed. And if we consider that production estimates point to 66 million tonnes by 2020, according to the economic plan launched in 2016, we will be coming up against a deficit of 4 million tonnes.

Alibaba, the popular Chinese e-commerce outlet, has just announced that it has reached an agreement with one of the powerhouses in the sector, Marine Harvest, to sell Norwegian salmon on-line worldwide.

The e-commerce portal, Alibaba, will be selling Marine Harvest’s Norwegian salmon based on the agreement reached by both companies. This agreement comes as the result of the recent normalization of relations between China and Norway after political contact broke off in 2010. This led to considerable import detentions. As far as Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, is concerned, “Alibaba is an exciting platform, since it is the one that reaches the general public”, and she believes that this cooperation could “develop quickly”.

The Norwegian salmon industry has set out in search for new markets or new ways of marketing its leading product. After advancing more than 400% over the past five years, the Oslo Stock Exchange Seafood Index has fallen by 16% so far this year.

Spaniards, Portuguese and Lithuanians consume more than double the amount of fish than the European average, according to the study by the New Economics Foundation (NEF). More specifically, Portugal consumes 54 kg per capita per annum, closely followed by Lithuania, with 44 kg, and by Spain, with 42 kg. If they could only consume what each country catches, the reserves for the whole of 2017 would already have been exhausted.

Spain has already consumed all its fish available for 2017. At least this is what the report “Fish Dependency” suggests, which underlines the capacity for fish self-sufficiency in European countries. According to this report, Spanish taste for fish means that the country has to import three times more than what it consumes, from non-European waters. The most interesting piece of data states that if Spain only consumed what is caught by the Spanish fleet in European waters, by 9th May, it would already have exhausted all its marine resources for the rest of the year.

This report also shows that the European Union’s self-sufficiency is at a very low level while fish consumption is high. At the same time, it points to the fact that fish stocks are growing in the northeast Atlantic and that overexploitation in EU waters is still too high.

Peru’s Vice-Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Héctor Soldi, has just announced measures to stimulate the tuna sector in 2018, with a view to increasing its impact on the GDP in this Andean country.

Peru has noticed how tuna landings have increased this year, and the Government is pulling together a package of actions to boost the sector and increase its contribution to the GDP. The fishing sector today is the third largest contributor to the Peruvian gross domestic product, behind the mining and agricultural sectors. As Soldi put it, “we hope that the fishing sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP will increase by 36% year after year in 2017”, from the current approximate figure of 1.5% to 2%, “contributing around 2,000 million dollars”.

The measures announced include: opening up two new ports for landing tuna towards the end of this year; making it compulsory for foreign tuna catchers to land 30% of their catches in Peruvian ports and thus stimulate the processing activity in national territory; and reducing tariffs for these foreign fishing vessels in order to promote private investment in the tuna industry.

Carrefour has put pangasius in the spotlight by suspending purchases of this product to relocate stocks in its establishments in France, Belgium and Spain, a suspension that other supermarket chains have followed in Italy. But not all European distributors have turned their backs on this product: whoever wants to, can have quality pangasius in their refrigerated products section.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the MSC counterpart body for aquaculture species, has expressed itself on the decision taken by some distribution chains not to replace their stocks with pangasius, alleging environmental criterion, reminding us that the pangasius guaranteed by the ASC seal is farmed in a responsible, sustainable manner. In fact, the German giant, Lidl, has positioned itself in favour of this species, and has reiterated its commitment to continue distributing the PANGASIUS guaranteed by this certification.

Besides the ASC seal, we need to trust the strict intrinsic control criterion applied to imports in the European Union governed by the community legislation on food safety and quality.

Since 1st January, last, China is applying a lower tax charge on key sea products such as tuna, cod or lobster. The main beneficiaries of these cuts will be Canada, Russia and U.S.A., despite the fact that trade tensions between the U.S.A. and the Asian giant have been on the increase since the arrival of Trump in the White House.

The Chinese Treasury Department has passed new cuts in import tax on certain sea product species. These cuts are applicable as from 1st January, and will be especially beneficial for exporters in Canada, Russia and, despite the current political situation, the U.S.A.

Import taxes have been reduced on products such as tuna, down from 12 to 6 %; lobster, from 15 to 10 %; cod from 10 to 50 % or Arctic lobster, from 5 to 2%. Other products that will benefit from this measure are herring and sole.

With all eyes turned on Illex argentinus seasonal opening, any event involving this species becomes news. The first jiggers have landed in Puerto Deseado and, for the time being, the outlook is positive. But however, more than a few people prefer to keep cautious since last year beginning was promising but it suddenly ground to a halt.

On 18th January last, the Illex argentinus season began. Traditionally, the catch period for this species took place from 1st February to 31st August, but the start to this year has been moved forward in response to the entrepreneurial sector’s requests, justified by competent scientists to improve catches of squid close to the end of their life cycle.

The industry wants to leave 2016 behind since only 60,135 tonnes were landed as opposed to the 126,670 in 2015 and the 168,729 in 2014. The first weeks of this season have ended with promising results, but this enthusiasm is guarded since, as occurred last year, it might turn out simply to be a good start. Heads or tails?

The Norwegian Biotechnology Council is looking into the possibility of approving a production method for genetically modified salmon (GM). If the Norwegian authorities agree, Canada will no longer be an isolated state in GM salmon production and the distances will be shortened so that this species finally reaches the end consumer’s table.

The Norwegian Biotechnology Council is looking into the possibility of approving a production method for genetically modified salmon (GM). This methodology involves editing the genes in the salmon roe to make them more resilient to disease and so that the fish do not develop reproductive cells. This is designed to solve one of the great problems of Norwegian aquaculture – the loss of fish in farms as well as avoiding any that might escape from not being able to breed with wild salmon.

If a country with Norway’s credentials can approve GM salmon production, this is likely to act as a way of putting on pressure to unblock the sale of this product in the U.S.A., where it is now blocked for importing and marketing until the labelling regulation is mapped out.

The sector has welcomed news of the return to the negotiating table, aiming at signing a free trade agreement between China and Norway, following the political discord between the two countries in 2010.

The Norwegian Government has announced the return to normal trade relations with China, besides the re-establishing of negotiations to sign a free trade agreement between both countries.

The news has been welcomed in the sea products sector which, since 2010, has noted how veterinary controls and administrative constraints increased for selling into China, bringing Norwegian salmon exports to the Asian giant down to minimum volumes. In fact, this news has led Marine Harvest shares to reach their maximum level in 13 years and has increased the value of Grieg Seafood shares by 5%.

Catch levels of Argentinean shrimp are currently excellent and, since 2012, have practically doubled their turnover, increasing from 79,657 tonnes to over 150,500 in 2016.

Argentine red shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) has reached a new record in catches, with an annual figure of 150,507 tonnes up to November last. This figure is 5.1% over the total volume landed last year (143,127 tonnes). According to statistics from Argentina’s Undersecretariat of Fisheries, the red shrimp fleet has practically doubled its turnover between 2012 and 2016, rising from 79,657 tonnes to over 15,500.

The latest export figures available indicate that in the first eight months of this year, 96,853 tonnes of red shrimp were exported for 597million dollars, figures that mean a 47% interannual increase in terms of volume and a 41.8% increase in value.

All forecasts point to 2017 as being a year of changes in the pangasius market. China is positioned as the main buyer of this product worldwide, staving off the U.S.A. and Europe as the main importers.

Exports of pangasius into China rose to 235.5 million dollars in the first ten months of 2016, meaning a 76% increase relative to the same period in the previous year. Since September last, these figures have made China the second leading importer of pangasius worldwide, ousting the EU from this position. Furthermore, the fall in imports in Europe has not helped it keep this position.

To date, the United States is still the main market for this species from Vietnam, but the high anti-dumping taxes and the tightening up of FDA inspections do not augur well for Vietnamese exporters. In fact, according to the forecasts by Vietnam’s sea produce exporters’ association, in 2017, China will be positioned as the main importer worldwide.

Southern hake (Merluccius australis) quota for 2017 will increase by 2,000 tonnes according to the authorized catch figures for this year.

Southern hake (Merluccius australis) from the extractive sector for 2017 in the fishing zone between Regions X and XII will be for 19,010 tonnes, as announced by Chile’s Subsecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca). The update of this yardstick involves an increase of about 2,000 tonnes in terms of the figures for 2016.

The sector has welcomed this increase, but does not overlook the negative impact generated by the reduction of quotas over the past three years, the most critical period being in 2013 and 2014 when decreases of 42% in volume were applied to southern hake for the extractive sector.

One of the great operations of this summer has been the acquisition, by Walmart, of the sales website, by Internet Jet.com, whose inventory includes over 12 million references, with products ranging from food to technological devices, for 3,300 million dollars. The aim includes e-trade ceasing to cause resistance in the department store giant.

Walmart also seeks to curb the growth of Amazon, which dominates internet and, moreover, threatens to eclipse traditional trade models. While Walmart has an annual sales volume over the internet of 14,000 million dollars, Amazon rises to 99,000 million.

For its part, Amazon has launched the sale of its own leading brand for food products, in a strategy that comes in the wake of its Amazon Fresh trade line, its distribution service of perishable foods that, for the time being, it has timidly placed in Europe, but which is scheduled to continue expanding in the near future. Clearly, both giants are keeping an eye on the core business of the other.

Vietnamese authorities have advised local aquaculture companies that it will not be renewing their export permits, unless they comply with all the safety regulations. This comes in the wake of a recent warning from the European Union regarding the presence of excessive levels of antiobiotics.

The European Commission has blocked imports from an aquaculture company after detecting a banned antiobiotic. Furthermore, the German authorities blocked batches of catfish from another company, due to having found traces of sodium carbonate. Spain will no longer accept this species from a third company following the detection of a non-permitted food additive.

This news helps us to improve the outlook for the Vietnamese industry, which sees how the impetus left by pangasius is running out, exports of which to North America now being subject to a rigorous control by the United States authorities. And as we all know, the greater the control, the more the rejections.

In March of this year, the Japanese group, Maruha Nichiro, announced the sale of Agrobest, the prawn producer company based in Malaysia, to the Chinese firm, the Fujian Hengshui Group. Maruha Nichiro acquired Agrobest in 2008. But only 3 years later, the subsidiary company of the Japanese firm began to notice the effects of EMS, which blighted a large part of the prawn farms in Southeast Asia, and by 2015, a debt of over 6.5 million had been accrued.

In contrast with this sale, the Japanese company recently began to acquire farmed prawn from Latin America, the aim being to diversify sources from which to have supplies of this product, mainly for Southeast Asia, and thus be able to ensure the supply of prawn in the face of the fierce competition from Chinese and U.S. buyers.

In 2015, the company imported 35,000 tonnes of prawn, and this year, it expects to reach 40,000.

Another operation that has generated a good deal of interest in the specialized press over the summer period has been the acquisition of 71% of Discefa, one of the largest processors and distributors of frozen octopus in Spain, by in an operation in which the risk capital fund, Oquendo, is also taking part.

In the last financial year, Discefa invoiced 62.3 million euros, recording an operational profit of 14 million. Around 75% of the invoicing of this Galician based company was generated abroad. Such figures have contributed to GED taking an interest in this company. In fact, according to sources, Discefa is in line with the investment parameters of the new GED V Spain FCR fund: “Medium-sized industrial companies with a potential for growth, leaders in their sector and going through a process of internationalization”.

Before 2016 is over, GED intends to make further investments with the same fund, with which it has acquired a majority share in Discefa. Will they set their sights again on the seafood sector?

In the Wal-Mart stores in China, it is possible to check out the quality of the fish on sale while they are still swimming in a tank. On the other hand, the North American customers of this Arkansas-headquartered multinational never get to see them alive. This is just a small example of how Wal-Mart has adapted to a completely different consumer model, known for being far more distrustful than the Anglosaxon eager to find aggressive offers.

The fact is that Wal-Mart cannot afford to lower its guard when it comes to adapting to local needs in countries where it has set up since now, it no longer has such great expectations for growth in the U.S.A. where it is at odds with the competition coming from Amazon (which has also recently launched into the food sector) not to mention the dollar stores. So, the U.S. retailer depends, more than ever, on operations abroad where China does not go unnoticed through being the largest food market in the world.

Now it seems that Wal-Mart has met the challenge of adapting its philosophy of “everyday low price” in the U.S.A. to “worry free” in China. But the multinational hasn’t got it all made in the Asian giant country and has to face the new challenge of implementing a solid strategy on the on-line market, where China is also world leader thanks to business models such as that applied by Alibaba.

The market of mergers and acquisitions in the Spanish canning sector is steaming hot, with the Chinese group, Shanghai Kaichuang’s purchase of the historical Albo cannery as well as of the gourmet brand, Portomar, fish and seafood preserve, by one of the large companies in the fishing sector – Pereira. These operations are in the wake of 55% acquisition of Conservas Garavilla by the Italian firm, Bolton Group, in March of last year.

The Shanghai Kaichuang fishing company finalized its purchase of Hijos de Carlos Albo on 10th June last, to the tune of 60.9 million euros. The interest of this Chinese group in the Galician canning company lies in the fact that the Asians seek to supply their domestic market by taking advantage of the influence of the brand in Europe, besides acting as a direct supplier for the Albo plants in Spain, thus setting up a complete industrial chain.

Meanwhile, the Pereira Group, which closed the last financial year with a turnover of almost 135 million euros, continues making headway in its diversifying process by moving into the Premium fish and seafood canning business, buying 100% of Portomar.

The Russian administration is engaged in a series of actions aimed at boosting the supply of fish and seafood from countries excluded from the veto imposed by Russia, now in force for the past two years, on foodstuff from the E.U., the U.S.A., Australia, Canada and Norway.

For this reason, Russia is reviewing its policies with countries such as Vietnam or Indonesia. The Russian premier, Dmitry Medvedev, recently met with his Vietnamese counterpart with a view to promote imports of food products from Vietnam. As far as Indonesia is concerned, the federal Russian fisheries agency is working with a series of measures aimed at lifting the restrictions on fish imports from a country which, in 2014, underwent a fairly significant withdrawal of licences by the Russian administration.

It is highly likely that Russia’s next movement will be to make up for the shortage of salmon, which seems inevitable, as a result of the current problem with supply from Chile, a country which, at the time, provided an alternative to Norway in supplying this product.

The European Parliament has passed a resolution to require the European Commission and Member States to exert a greater control over the traceability of fish products in the European Union. This came in the light of the results of a series of studies underlining the high levels of incorrect labelling in the Member States, which made is clear that one out of every three fish species served in Brussels restaurants, and even in the buildings of the E.U. itself, does not tally with the species paid for by the consumer.

The E.U. has called on the Member States to tighten up national controls in an effort to fight against fraud and to determine at which stage in the supply chain fish is incorrectly labelled. It has also proposed setting up a working table to harmonize traceability of products between the member countries or to implement a green certificate for E.U. fish, among other measures.

The Falkland Island authorities have confirmed that Illex squid catches are at an all-time low in this fishing campaign where barely 2,000 tonnes has been caught, in comparison with the 170,000 tonnes caught by this time last year. Catching this same species in Argentinean waters, although with higher catches than in the Falklands, is also less than in previous periods. This situation continues the global trend of low catches noted in other similar species such as Dosidicus or Todarodes in Pacific waters.

Availability of Loligo squid, be it from India or Patagonian, is also at alarming levels. It can be said that we are facing an unprecedented situation characterized by the lack of catches of practically all the species of squid.

Half way through this month, the Oslo Stock Exchange (Norway) launched a new index (OBSFX) for seafood companies, allowing investors to buy and sell products negotiated on the stock exchange. In the OBSFX, products will have stock exchange certificates working in a similar way as shares.

Initially, the OBSFX will be made up of eight seafood companies that are already on the Oslo Stock Exchange and that also meet certain minimum levels of liquidity: Marine Harvest, Bakkafrost, SalMar, Lerøy Seafood, Austevoll Seafood, Havfisk, Norway Royal Salmon and Grieg Seafood. This index will be reviewed twice a year, in June and December. These reviews will involve ascribing a limit to the companies so that none of them will account for more than 30% of the index.

The OSBFX stands out as a milestone for the sea produce sector, once again confirming its importance in the global economy.

According to statements from SalmonChile, a guild association grouping together Chilean salmon producers, the Toxic Algal Bloom (TAB) phenomenon, which has affected several salmon farming plants in the south of the country, has given rise to the loss of about 106,000 tonnes, meaning 12% of the production scheduled for this year.

SalmonChile has admitted that the fall in production will be specially noticeable in the second half of the year, which is when the majority of the 25 million fish, now lost as a result of this phenomenon, was due to be harvested, a loss that will have a knock-on effect on the lack of Salmo Salar and on markedly high prices that have already been noted since the onset of this new crisis, which is leading many wholesalers to turn their gaze on Alaska wild salmon.

In March last, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected 208 consignments of fish products, 17 of which (8.2%) corresponding to consignments of shrimp rejected for reasons related to antibiotics not approved by the North American authorities. This figure more than doubles the total rejected for the first two months of this year, denoting that the number of rejections is on the rise. The majority of these shrimp consignments were from India, closely followed by batches from China and Vietnam.

Regardless of the fact that rejected consignments of Asian shrimp are on the rise, these batches are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of exports from Asia of this product, if we take into account that 90% of the shrimp consumed in the U.S.A. are sourced in that region.

According to data recently published by the National Chamber of Aquaculture of Ecuador (CAN), in 2015, Ecuadorian shrimp exports reached a record 326,6 million kilogrammes, 44% of which were exported to Asia, 29% to Europe and 24% to the U.S.A.

Vannamei exports to Asia increased by 13% during this period, an increase driven by the growing demand noted since 2013 when shrimp production in Southeast Asia was affected by they effects of the early mortality syndrome (EMS). China imported 27.2 million kilogrammes, 20% of the total exports to Asia.

On the other hand, exports to Europe and to the U.S.A. fell by 5 to 6%, respectively. In Europe, imports of this product have been affected by the current euro-dollar exchange rate, whereas the United States market quota has fallen as a result of more competition from India, with a cheaper supply in the added value products demanded by the North American consumer.

2015 was a good year for Maruha Nichiro, which saw how its consolidated exploitation result has increased by 52.9% (130 million dollars) in the period between April and December, compared with the same period in 2014. The company has also increased its sales by 2% (5.9 billion dollars) and its ordinary profit has increased by 33% (138.7 million dollars), figures that exceed the Japanese company’s projections for the entire accounting year ending in this March.

These data are mainly due to the domestic upturn in the company’s frozen processed foods trade, as well as the good yield in its production and marketing segment of seafood overseas, particularly regarding operations arising from fish rights as well as stability in sales and prices, and in species such as farmed tuna. Not all the market perspectives have been favourable, as occurred for instance with the fall in the price of sockeye salmon, but the good results in items such as Pollock surimi have mitigated this kind of impact.

The price of Alaska sourced snow crab has reached its highest level in the past few years, with increases of around one dollar in all sizes. This comes as a result of a drastic 40% cutback in catch quotas in this U.S. state, falling from 30.8 million kilogrammes to 18.1.

Experts forecast that the value of this species has already reached its ceiling, since it is unlikely that producers can move their stock in line with current price tags. At the same time, experts have their eyes pinned on the forthcoming snow crab catching season in Canada, due to open in April next, with lower prices and substantially higher quotas, which will probably influence in lowering the prices of its Alaskan counterpart.

Despite the figures in which Alaska snow crab moves, demand from Japan for this species, as well as for its Canadian counterpart, have remained stable as a result of a more limited supply from Russia, since both countries undersigned a bilateral agreement against illegal catching of snow crab.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has developed a new tool, known as MFA (Mapping Fishing Activities). This tool offers, for the first time, a high resolution map showing the intensity of fishing activity in EU waters.

This map has been developed with the follow-up data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) used for identifying and locating vessels. In fact, it is the use of this tool where the innovative factor of the MFA lies since, until now, analyses of fishing activity were mainly based on figures taken from administrative sources rather than from data from an open source.

The fish processing industry in China is mainly located in Yantai, Qingdao and Dalian, but some experts note that this will not be the case for long, at least as far as pollock is concerned, as it will soon be including Hunchun on this platform, a city on the Chinese border with Russia and North Korea.

Hunchun is becoming an attractive centre for the processing industry since, following on from an agreement between China and North Korea, it is able to contract Korean manpower, which is at a lower cost than in the case of the Asian giant. Apart from accessing the raw material – pollock – it is also easier due to the closeness of the Russian border. Both factors contribute to getting more profitability out of the product in terms of the traditional production centres, a fact that has not been overlooked by companies such as Dalian Baolong or Yantai Dachen, firms that are already considering establishing pollock production plants in this city.

We take this opportunity to remind you that 8th February next marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, meaning a holiday break throughout the country lasting from 10 to 15 days.

The Spanish risk capital firm, Portobello Capital, has acquired a majority stake, as reported in some media outlets, of 55% in Ibérica de Congelados (the Iberconsa Group), one of the main leaders worldwide in the seafood products sector, headquartered in Vigo (Spain).

Alberto Freire, Iberconsa Director, has stated that with this operation, they will bolster their financial structure by increasing their capacity to become involved in new projects and will strengthen supervisory competences and management of the group, backed by Portobello’s know-how. The latter company expressed its satisfaction at the signing of capital with this operation, since they are aware that the sector has an increasingly important project in the world of food due to the increasing interest in fish proteins, thanks to current consumer trends and to its nutritional quality.

The first Bluefin tuna auction was held at the start of this month in Tsukiji, the largest fish market in the world, located in Tokyo (Japan). In this edition, for all intents and purposes, record figures were reached with the sale of a 200 kg tuna for 14 million Yens (€ 108,376) at 70,000 Yens per kilo (€ 542).

This specimen was acquired by Kiyoshi Kimur, owner of a well-known chain of sushi restaurants, making this auction his most profitable publicity campaign. At this edition, the 4.51 million Yens (€ 34,919) that Kimura himself shelled out last year for the most coveted specimen were trebled, amounting to almost double the 7.36 million Yens (€ 56,998) that this businessman paid out in 2014. Even so, the auction failed to reach the record figure of 155.4 million Yens (€ 1.07 million) paid out by this Japanese entrepreneur in 2013.

Thousands of giant squid (Dosidicus gigas) were found dead over the past few days along the coast of the Isle of Santa María, off the coastline of the province of Arauco (Chile). The causes for this episode are as yet unknown, although a link with the meteorological phenomenon known as El Niño is not being ruled out.

The bodies of around 10,000 cephalopods have invaded one of the isle’s beaches, leading to a sanitary emergency, as well as concern among the local inhabitants and experts over the causes of the incident. Without turning down the possibility of it being due to a case of contamination, experts point to the mass death of squid as having been caused by the high seawater temperature due to El Niño.

Pacific Andes International Holdings (PAIH) is having to deal with fronts open on three continents. In Europe, it has just been made public that Pickenpack, the frozen fish processor, in which PAIH participates, has declared itself bankrupt in Germany. In Asia, the Hong Kong and Singapore authorities are investigating the group and the Supreme Court of Hong Kong has designated provisional liquidators for China Fishery Group (CFG), PAIH’s jewel in the Crown after the Holding has been unable to pay off a loan quota undersigned with a series of crediting entities. In America, the Factory vessel, Damanzaihao, has been sanctioned for its participation in unauthorized fishing off Peru where, apart from any other consideration, El Niño is affecting its fishing operations. While in the U.S.A., one of its top executives has been accused of tax evasión.

Opinions in terms of recovery in the short term are hard to come by, and the fact is that the ooperation environment for China Fisheries Group, which accounts for half of the income in the parent Company with fishing interests in Peru and Africa, is by no means encouraging. Certainly, the Outlook in this Andean country is negative since the TAC for this fishing campaign of anchoveta is low, making a pick up in CFG’s income flow unlikely.

In common with that happened with the Galician based Pescanova group, it may be the case that we are reading the first of many headlines that will be published over the coming months regarding the problems facing PAIH. We shall keep you up to date.

It has been almost two years since the huge outcry over the decisión taken by Canada’s Department of the Environment which, for the first time, authorized the industrial production of eggs from a genetically modified animal. This resolution led the way to giving the goa head to the North American Company, AquaBounty, to market genetically manipulated salmon eggs (GM) on an industrial scale, marked by a swifter growth rate and a larger size.

At that point, many ventured to say that such a decisión was none other than a foot in the door before the United States Food Safety Authority (FSA) would accept marketing GM salmon for consumption. In fact, these sources were not very far wrong and, on 20th November last, genetically manipulated salmon was approved by the FSA for human consumption.

This entails a landmark in world food since genetically manipulated salmon is the first genetically manipulated animal to be approved as a food. But however, the U.S.A. regulating body has not made it compulsory to have it labelled as such, and thus the controversy is served.

Vietnamese pangasius exporters have noticed an escape valve for their fall in exports worldwide with the increase of imports by their neighbouring country in Asia. And the fact is that pangasius exports into China have increased their sales by 50% so far this year, thus becoming the Asian giant in the third market for this product behind the United States and Europe.

The increase in exports into China has also increased for other aquatic species sourced in Vietnam. In fact, it has imported 19% more of products from Vietnamese seas during the first months of 2015 relative to last year. This percentage contrasts with the fall in fish product exports to other destinations, which have fallen by 15-60%, depending on the product and importing country.

Towards the end of last November, a man dressed in a marine blue suit was offering a tasting of Norwegian cod in a supermarket in Rio de Janeiro. This could have been quite natural if it were not for the identity of this person. Nobody more and nobody less than Haakon of Norway, the heir to the throne of this Scandinavian country.

His visit was part of the Prince’s trip through Brazil in an attempt to revive Norwegian exports to his country. This South American country is not just any importer, but rather it is the main buyer of Norwegian cod. Brazil has imported a fifth of the total of exports of this product from Norway.

This visit confirms the fact that the effects of Brazil’s recession are being felt beyond its borders. The volumes of imports of Norwegian cod fell by 37% in the first 10 months of this year in terms of the same period in the previous year, which is also due to the fact that the price of Norwegian cod fillets increased by 40%, doubling the prices for cod and salmon from Alaska.

Early October brought to light the Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement, a treaty designed as the largest regional agreement to date in terms of its projection and scope.

Known as the TPP, this agreement sets out a new customs framework that will affect industries in the different sectors, involving 40% of the economy and 33% of global trade since it draws together 12 countries in America, Asia and Oceania: United States, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The TPP is still pending ratification by the United States Congress, currently involved in the presidential elections campaign for 2016 where the agreement may become a subject for debate among the candidates. We will keep you up to date on this, but meanwhile, just to let you know that if this is confirmed, it will have a very positive impact on the seafood industry.

More than a few U.S. supermarkets have noted a marked difference in prices between salmon fillet from Chile and its Norwegian counterpart, over the past few months.

In May of this year, shortly after Costco confirmed its decision to reduce its imports of Chilean salmon to less than half, in line with its policy of cutting back products with traces of antiobiotics, it became known that in establishments in the chain in the United States, Norwegian salmon could be found labelled as being free of antiobiotics, at $8.99 per pound, this being $1 over the $7.99 per pound for the same product from Chile. As the months went by, the price difference has increased, keeping at $8.99 for Norwegian salmon fillet, and down to $5.99 for the Chilean equivalent.

These data go hand in hand with a widespread fall in Chilean salmon exports to the U.S.A., a fall that has also occurred in trout exports from this North American country.

The alarm recently sounded out among Argentinean shrimp exports into China, as it emerged that several containers had been rejected by the authorities in this Asian country.

Despite there being no official statements regarding the reason for rejection, sources in the sector pointed out that it was due to having detected concentrations of sodium metabisulphite higher than what is allowed. These same sources have advised that different Chinese provinces establish their own tolerance parameters and, although the central authorities have taken the decision to limit the level to 100 ppm of metabisulphite applied by other countries, not all the official bodies in this Asian country have been notified.

Knowledge of the terrain and knowing how to adapt, as well as being able to take measures to anticipate regulations and local specifications mean an added value for any organization. We trust that our Argentinean counterparts are also guided by these premises so that shrimp exports to this Asian country can return to their normal pace.

Denmark’s Green Development and Demonstration Programme heads a project that sets out to have drones reducing the time taken by fishing vessels in locating banks of fish with appropriate fish species with the correct sizes.

Important resources in terms of time, economics and fuel are invested in this search. Although it is not certain if sonar and echo-sounder have already cut down search times, they can still be more cost efficient for fishermen. The fact is that, depending on the size of the vessel, being at sea can cost as much as $15,000 per day.

This project, therefore, entails including drones to the technology already being used today in order to make locating banks more efficient in time, which means less impact on the environment. Great expectations have been put into the assistance that unmanned aerial vehicles would involve for fishermen during the discard stage since they can also be used to help avoiding unwanted catches.

Over the past few days, the specialized media are reporting on the migration of Pacific anchoveta towards the south of Peru as a result of the strengthening of the meteorological phenomenon known as “El Niño”. Many are wondering how the movements of this pelagic species are able to drive the press and other stakeholders in the sector round the bend. The reason is that Pacific anchoveta is Peru’s chief fisheries resource as well as being the cornerstone for this Andean country’s fishmeal used for feeding other species.

Despite this migration, it can be said that, so far this year, Pacific anchoveta catches are already higher than they were for 2014. The fact is that by the end of the first season, over 2.79 million tonnes had already been caught, meaning 65% more than catches for the whole of last year.

Alongside this decreased availability of Pacific anchoveta in the north zone, other species with a high commercial value such as tunny, horse mackerel or yellowfin tuna have started to appear, which just goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining.

The sector is expectant since the Bank of China surprised the markets by devaluating the yuan towards the end of August.

Although it is still early days for speculations, it is clear that the Chinese model, based on importing, processing and re-exporting seafood products alongside fishfarming to be subsequently exported, could be affected since processing species such as Alaska salmon for re-exporting involve paying for this fish in dollars. Besides that, countries such as the U.S.A. or Ecuador are being cautious with exporting seafood products to this Asian country, regardless of the fact that demand has been firm to date.

Despite the above, we should keep an optimistic view since there is no doubt about the fact that China will continue to be the main link in the chain of seafood products supply worldwide. As far as imports of these products are concerned, demand has increased so swiftly and is so large that even if it were to decrease slightly, the Asian giant will continue to be one of the main importing countries of fish and shellfish.

According to data recently published by the German Institute of Information on Fish (FIZ), fish consumption in Germany increased in 2014, from 13.8 kg per capital in 2013 to 14 kg, with a total consumption of 1.13 million tonnes.

As a result of this, German household expenditure on fish consumption increased by 1.4%, rising to 3.5 thousand million euros. The most consumed fish was Alaska Pollock, with a market quota of 22.9%, followed by salmon, with 18.7%. Herring ranks in third place with 14.5%. Tuna and trout take fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The FIZ points out that the reason for the increased popularity of fish among the Germans are the new varieties of frozen seafood products, basically characterized by a presentation in smaller packing formats. This official body foresees fish consumption continuing with this positive trend over the current financial year.

Pescanova’s financial report for the 6 month period ending on 31st May, 2015, shows a 15.4% increase in its sales, rising from 433.8 to 501.5 million euros. These figures stem from an increase in sales by this Galician multinational in its 3 main markets: in Spain (accounting for 37.5% of the total) involving 188 million euros (+11.9%), in the European Union (32% of the total) involving 162 million euros (+20.8%) and 151 million euros (+15.5%) outside the EU (30.2% of total sales).

The financial report sets the group debt at 1,320 million euros, as of 31st May 2015, with a net worth of – 621 million euros. But however, it should be taken into account that agreements with Spanish branch companies, which were going through bankruptcy proceedings and which were passed on 11th June last, are still not included in this report and would entail a reduction of this debt of around 585 million euros. Furthermore, the net worth would now stand at – 30 million. Indeed, if the negative effect produced by keeping Acuinova Portugal (up for sale) in the consolidated balance sheet were removed, and the foreseeable agreement with the creditors of the Argenova branch were secured in Argentina, the group’s assets would be positive. We shall be keeping you up to spin following the publication of the forthcoming financial report.

The Russian veto on imported food products from the EU, U.S.A., Australia, Canada and Norway came into force on 7th August last year, in response to the West’s sanctions imposed on Moscow for the Ukraine crisis.

One year later, far from finding common ground, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has signed a decree whereby the embargo will continue for another twelve months in response to the extension of the economic sanctions adopted by Brussels.

It is common knowledge that countries such as Chile have taken advantage of this situation, becoming front line suppliers of products such as salmon, increasing Chilean exports to Russia by 376% from September 2013 to October 2014. But the scenario over the past few months, however, is a far cry from the situation in which we were towards the end of last year, due to the current devaluation of the rouble. The fact is that this devaluation has led to imports being too costly so that the Russian importer would rather resort to surplus stock instead of buying.

This year, the price of lobster in the United States is reaching particularly high levels: US$ 10.99 per pound, with an increase of between 1 and 2 dollars relative to last year, driven by global demand and by unusual water temperature conditions, which led to less catch.

Indeed, world demand for American lobster continues to be on the rise, especially in China. More specifically, the Asian giant imported U.S. sourced lobster for a value of 90.5 million dollars in 2014. According to the statistics by the U.S. Ministry of Agriculture, exports of this species to China increased to 8,560 tonnes in 2014, while so far this year dispatches have increased by 12%.

It is foreseeable that the taste of the Chinese consumer for seafood products will continue to increase over the next few years, as commented in previous editions. In fact, it is already a reality that this Asian country absorbs 35% of the world’s shellfish.

With the farming of salmon, turbot, bream, sea bass or sole in the pipeline, with octopus farming on stand-by due to the high mortality rate and hake farming slowed down by its low profitability, the EU has launched Project Diversify. This project sets out to study new fish species with a potential for expanding commercial fishfarming within the community territory.

The species identified, particularly drum (Argyrosomus regius), halibut or Greenland halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) or wreckfish (Polyprion americanus) cover the entire geographical area of Europe, with fast growth and/or large sizes, making it possible to market them with a large size and process them for a wide range of products, the aim being to offer the consumer a greater diversity of species and new products with added value, apart from developing new markets.

Project Diversify is backed by national initiatives involving SMEs and large companies in the common territory, in order to override the bottlenecks documented in the production of these species.

According to the report recently drafted by the State Ports of Spain Authority, between January and June, 102,643 tonnes of fresh fish were landed in Spanish ports. Vigo, once again, takes the leading position, with 31,562 tonnes, this being 1.6% more than the same period last year. In second place is another Galician port – A Coruña – with 23,949 tonnes. Pasajes (in the Basque Country) stands in third place in Spain as regards landings of fresh fish, with 13,075 tonnes.

Vigo is not only the capital of fresh fish, but also heads Spain’s frozen fish sector since the main companies in the sector are based in this Galician town. It is also where the main event for sea products in south Europe is held, the International Exhibition of Frozen Sea Products (Conxemar).

The forthcoming edition of Conxemar will be held between 5th and 7th October. We take this opportunity to remind you that we look forward to your visit on Stand F-17.

With the coming into force of the new European regulations on labelling fish and aquaculture products, operators must include information on the labels which, to date, is not found at any single source. For this reason, the EU Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fishing (DG MARE) is developing a website with a single information system on the commercial denominations of fish and aquaculture products distributed in the community territory.

Based on the scientific name, the portal will put together information, on a single database, such as the taxonomic classification, the commercial and regional denominations permitted, FAO areas, customs codes, TACs and quotas, production methods and fishing methods, aquaculture techniques or marketing regulations.

This pilot project on the web portal developed by DG MARE will start up next September, making it easy to access information both on the different agents involved in the chain of value as well as consumers.

The Lidl supermarket chain has taken the leap to the United States by opening headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. In fact, the German discount store is already searching for premises to make its début effective on the American market, initially opening from 50 to 100 establishments by 2018.

As far is its playing field today is concerned – Europe – Lidl continues to keep winning positions over its competitors. The figures rank the parent company, the Schwarz group, ahead of Carrefour and Tesco in the Retail top ten. Along with its other branch company, Kaufland, the corporation recorded a turnover of 98,300 million euros in 2014.

According to statements by Brendan Proctor, Chairman and General Director of Lidl in the U.S.A., the chain will be taking its model to the American continent. This model is based on bolstering its white label, which accounts for 80% of its products, avoiding duplication and buying large volumes of stock. We have no doubt about the fact that frozen fish will continue to be one of the company’s leading products in their American adventure.

The Spanish frozen sector has been working for some time now following its own norm, and it can be said that it is even progressing ahead of the behaviour that the food market as a whole will eventually end up adopting.

Between 2010 and 2013, decreases were recorded in the shopping basket for frozen products. But last year, however, a recovery of seven tenths was noted and this has now become a 1.9% increase, according to data from the consultancy, Iri, for the financial year closed in March last. With this, the market is back with a figure of around 2,100 million euros, although marking a 0.3% fall in terms of volume.

As regards what is inside the average Spanish freezer, few variations are noted here. Seafood products continue to take pride of place in expenditure (around 34%), mostly taken up by unprocessed fish. This is followed by ice-creams, accounting for 30%. Ready-made and cooked dishes continue at around 25%, showing a downward trend, while products of plant origin account for the remaining percentage.

Conditions on the international market for the financial year 2014-2015, characterized by the depreciation of the euro, a weaker economic situation in China, the devaluation of the yen and the depreciation of the Indian rupee have led seafood product exports from India to record a historical peak, valued at 5,511 million dollars, 10.05% more than the previous financial year, and a volume of 1,05 million tonnes, meaning 6,86% more.

Frozen shrimp was the main product exported in terms of amount and value, accounting for 34.01% of the total volume exported, and 67.19% of total incomes. The main target markets were the U.S.A., the EU, Southeast Asia and Japan. Fish, on the other hand, was the second most exported line of products, with 29.44% in amount and 11.24% in value.

India’s MPEDA (Marine Products Export Development Agency), for the financial year 2015-2016, expects fisheries exports to increase to 6,600 million dollars, but we shall have to wait and see what the international market has in store.

A group of scientists and fishermen from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland (U.S.A.) are working on a new mobile application that promises to revolutionize the food sector, specifically in the field of seafood products, on a global scale.

The project has been named “Boat to plate”, and will allow the consumer to get to know the history of a piece of fish once its QR code is scanned using a smartphone. This application will compile information on the different stages in the supply chain of seafood products, including catching, landing, auctioning, processing and delivery, providing the customer with data such as the fishing grounds or the name of the vessel that caught the product to be purchased.

This project is showcased as the latest in the food traceability technology sector, an area with which the consumer is increasingly familiarized. The difference between “Boat to plate” and other applications lies in the fact that it is a more complex model since it uses data from numerous sources, providing a broader and certainly different point of view.

The South African company, Oceana Group, has announced in a press release that it has reached an agreement to indirectly acquire the company, Daybrook Fisheries Inc., headquartered in Louisiana – United States – by combining a merger and stock option.

This South African group has announced that with the acquisition of Daybrook’s entire stock package, an operation valued at 382.3 million dollars, Oceana will have an indirect share of 100% in Daybrook Fisheries, devoted to catching Atlantic menhaden besides processing fishmeal and fish oil with it, and an indirect 25% share in Westbank, a subsidiary of the former and owner of 11 auxiliary refrigerated vessels and 10 planes used to locate banks of Atlantic menhaden.

According to the press release from the company, headquartered in Johannesburg, with this operation it sets out to extend its international operations, by diversifying the species that it works with, improving product profile and the risk associated with foreign currencies. Interatlantic has been collaborating with Oceana for many years now in marketing South African squid, and we are certain that it will more than meet the objectives set in this operation.

The General Director of the Profand Group, Enrique García Chillón, has acquired the majority shareholding of the company, but increasing his share from 45 to 66%, this being the most outstanding shares movement over the past few years in the Spanish seafood sector.

García Chillón has increased his share in the group after acquiring stock capital from various minority shareholders. According to the specialized press, the General Director’s effective taking hold of control in the shareholding will not lead to any changes in the company strategy, nor so in the group’s line. Profand will continue to consolidate its marked expansion, noted since 2013, when it took up positioning in Argentina, India, Peru and Senegal.

Profand is the third operator in the sector in Spain, behind Pescanova and Mariscos Rodríguez, recording consolidated sales of 201.5 million euros in 2014.

Last 28th May marked the commemoration of the start to the wild salmon season in Alaska with an American-style barbecue to taste Alaska’s fish and seafood at the residency of the United States Ambassador in Madrid, James Costos.

The Ambassador welcomed around 150 guests, including distributors, representatives of the gastronomic press, particularly Mikel López Iturriaga from the blog, “El Comidista”, on the newspaper, El País, well-known chefs such as Ricardo Sanz from the Kabuki Group, David Muñoz’s right-hand man and head of kitchen at StreetXO, Manuel Villalba, as well as María Marte from the Club Allard restaurant, recently awarded by the Royal Spanish Academy of Gastronomy with the National Prize for Gastronomy to the Best Head of Kitchen 2014.

Here at Interatlantic, we would like to thank Alaska Seafood for inviting our CEO, Luis Cabaleiro and our Financial Director, Lorena García. We would also like to thank Ambassador James Costos for the warm welcome given them. This event certainly was a huge success.

 

The Italian company, the Bolton Group, owner of the leading tuna canning brand in Europe – Río Mare – and of 40% of the Spanish company, Calvo, has acquired 55% of Conservas Garavilla, percentage ownership by the MCH risk capital company, since 2010. The agreement reached between Bolton and Garavilla establishes that both partners will support each other in the current managerial team of the Spanish company in order to strengthen the business and the brands that the latter markets under the labels of Isabel, Garavilla, Cuca and Massó.

Although it was the Bolton Group that was finally selected, front line international companies such as Dongwon or Thai Union have also expressed their interest in acquiring MCH interest in Garavilla. The fact is that the marked presence of the Isabel brand in Europe, North Africa and South America has not gone unnoticed.

With this agreement, Bolton will become part of two of the four main Spanish canning groups, which include Jealsa Rianxeira and Frinsa. For this reason, the operation has been left on hold for the approval of the competition authorities, which could delay the effective signing by around 6 months

Up until last year, pangasius filled the supermarket shelves in Brazil as this species was presented to consumers, attracted by its low prices, as the star product. But however, in September 2014, the Brazilian authorities stopped issuing new import licenses for Vietnamese sea produce imports and hopes for catfish were dashed.

After the storm comes the calm, and after six months imposing a diet low in pangasius on the Brazilian consumer, the Ministry of Fishing and Aquaculture (MPA) gave the okay for imports of Vietnamese fish imports. In line with MPA statements, this resolution is based on commitments signed by Vietnam involving agreeing to implement adjustment measures in the production of its seafood products, with a higher quality of the same.

Brazil has welcomed the news and expectations for fish imports from Vietnam are very favourable.

Just a few days ago, the most important event in the sector drew to a close, namely the Brussels Seafood Show. This year the show went beyond all expectations, with 1,761 exhibiting companies covering a surface area of 36,069 m2, making this edition the largest and most important in its history.

In the wake of the good results reaped in the 2014 edition, we are quite clear about the fact that Interatlantic had to attend this latest event with a stand of its own and more exhibiting area to be able to attend to our customers, suppliers and friends, as they so deserve. Now that our team is back home and with first hand news, we can only say that the decision could not have been more right and, once again, we would like to express our thanks to all those who have accompanied us in this debut.

Next year, more and better.

The now long drawn out controversy over Alaska’s certification system as opposed to that of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), whereby fisheries in this North American state decided to stand up to the MSC seal and commit themselves to their own regional brand as a guarantee of quality, appears to be drawing to a close. The fact is that many of the processors who, at the time, opposed the Alaska brand, are now planning on going back to the MSC seal.

This change of stance suggests that the Alaska producers are looking in all directions in an attempt to deal with a market characterized by a high stock of frozen fish left over from the last season, alongside an excellent outlook for catches, and a reduced global demand because of the strong U.S. dollar.

Following on from statements made by these processors, it transpires that their main objective is not to let the opportunity go by to offer the buyer the option of choosing both certificates. The fact of the matter is that one guarantee does not detract from the other and, as everyone knows, there is strength through unity (and it opens up niche markets).

Towards the end of January, we were surprised over the announcement that the organization of Seafood Expo Southern Europe has decided to cancel the 2015 edition, which was scheduled to be held from 21st to 23rd September in Barcelona.

According to the official press release, the reason for this cancellation is due to aspects to do with the dates and the current situation that the market is going through. It is important to point out that this press release does not refer to a definitive halt, but rather to a reappraisal of the exhibition’s format.

For its part, the Conxemar Exhibition organization which, at the last edition, confirmed its leadership as the leading exhibition in the sector in southern Europe, has decided to take advantage of the circumstance and is already considering expanding as an exhibition and its target within the Seafood area, aiming to go beyond the frozen sector.

Conxemar will be held on 5th, 6th and 7th October, in the Spanish town of Vigo. At Interatlantic, as members of the organization, we shall be expecting all the usual visitors for yet another edition, and we invite all companies that still have not had the opportunity to come to Vigo to become acquainted with this excellent exhibition.

CSCL Globe, the largest reefer transporting containers on the planet, with 400 metres overall length by 59 metres beam, and capacity for 19,100 20ft. containers, has already left Europe on its maiden voyage from Shanghai, the home port of the shipping company that it serves, China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL).

CSCL Globe will not be sporting the title of the giant of the latest generation of megaships for very long, since CSCL has commissioned a total of five ships of these characteristics. Other shipping agents, such as SinoShip, already have orders in the pipeline that surpass the capacity of this vessel. The fact is that the efficiency of this type of ship involves a considerable advantage for shipping companies since, in terms of traditional vessels, they consume 50% less in fuel, while they also reduce costs in personnel and insurance.

Although this vessel is just one more step among the latest substantial steps forward in engineering, it is unquestionable that CSCL Globe is a landmark in sea transport, a sector closely linked to ours.

Last week marked the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, opening up the Year of the Goat.

This celebration is the most important event of all the traditional Chinese festivals, and is accompanied by a holiday that brings the entire country to a standstill. In fact, millions of workers have travelled to the coastal areas to their home towns and villages to celebrate with their families. Many will be taking 30 days or even more, which means that the production plants will not be getting back to normal until mid March. This situation, although with far less impact, repeats itself in countries such as Vietnam or Korea, where the New Year is also celebrated according to the lunar calendar.

Interatlantic would like to send our best wishes to all our companions, customers and suppliers in these countries.

The Findus Group, one of the leading food and frozen seafood product companies in Europe, recently announced an initial agreement with Nestlé Spain to acquire its ready-to-serve foods division, La Cocinera.

With this operation, which includes transferring the brand La Cocinera and the operations of its Valladolid plant, the British group, Findus, sets out to establish its first production centre in Spain as well as bolstering its commercial positioning in southern Europe. For its part, this agreement is the latest in a series of sales made by Nestlé© aimed at focusing on more profitable lines of business.

The transaction, subject to the approval of the Spanish authorities on competition, whose economic terms are as yet unknown, promises not to leave the European frozen industry indifferent, particularly the suppliers of this food giant, since Findus will expand its already extensive catalogue of products with a presence in the main frozen foods categories: vegetables, ready-to-serve dishes, pizzas and fish.

Thai Union Frozen Products is to buy 100% of the shares in Bumble Bee Seafoods in a move that will give the Thai giant control over the leading North American company non-perishable seafood products, and specifically, over 38% of the U.S. market in canned tuna.

The operation valued at 1,510 million dollars and subject to the approval of the U.S. competition authorities, is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2015 leaving two of the most well-known seafood brands in the U.S.A. under the same auspices: Bumble Bee Seafoods and Chicken of the Sea (owned by Thai Union).

With this move, Thai Union closes an active year on the international market by mergers and acquisitions, this being the third acquisition made by the Thai based company, so far this year, after purchasing the Norwegian canning company, King Oscar, and the French smoked salmon supplier, MerAlliance.

2014 will be a year to remember in the prawn industry, the fact being that despite the high prices, demand on the main markets for this product has kept surprisily stable. In fact, during the first three quarters of this year, the value of imports has hit record figures both in the EU and the U.S.A., where this brand has also been applied to the volume of the same.

This situation is due for a higher internal demand from producer countries such as India and China, as well as due to the problems with supplied arising from the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) in supplier countries as China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Mexico. Both factors have contributed to there being less supply of prawn on the international market, despite the intensified production occurring in India, Indonesia or Ecuador in order to take advantage of the circumstances.

Bread today, hunger for tomorrow. Forecasts point to intensified production in certain countries contributing, once the effects of EMS have worn off, to prices falling as the affected regions start to pick up again.

he main events in the sector are bristling with new points in 2015, particularly the change of enclosure for the China Fisheries Seafood Expo in Qingdao, for latest generation installations, notably increasing its exhibition capacity and setting it face to face with its main rival, which is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world so far, namely the Brussels Seafood Show.
The kick-start to the “musts” of 2015 comes with the Boston Seafood Show (15th-17th March), the most important seafood event in North America. In April, we will be looking forward to seeing you at the Brussels Exhibition (21st-23rd April), and after summer, the agenda will move to north Spain, with the Conxemar Exhibition (6th-8th October). To close the season of events, we cannot mise the China Fisheries Seafood Expo in Qingdao (4th-6th November) which, as we mentioned earlier in this bulletin, promises not to leave anybody indifferent.

Interatlantic will be taking part with a stand of its own at each of these exhibitions, with the clear aim of continuing to establish links with our customers and suppliers. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details or, if you are forward-looking, to organize a meeting with a member of our team.

The latest news brings important innovations in the French food distribution market. Specifically, it has been made public that the giant, Carrefour, now has the authorizaiton from the French competition authorities to purchase the French branch of the Spanish group, DIA, made up of 865 sales outlets valued at 644.7 million euros.
DIA has decided to shed its business in France after seeing its sales there fall by 10.9% in 2013, while they continue to grow in other markets such as Argentina or Brazil, due to the crisis in low cost outlets as a result of a greater competition coming from the traditional stakeholders in the distribution sector. Carrefour has indicated in a release that the inclusion of DIA France lies within its multi-format, multi-channel expansion strategy, and will also allow it to strengthen its presence in the centre of towns and cities such as Paris.
It is well known the commitment of Carrefour with its seafood range. We do not hesitate that the French group will keep this premise as a flag in its new adventure.

This Monday marked the closure of the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The conclusions of this meeting promise to mark a turning point for this highly valued species. The fact is that after years of drastic restrictions, marked by the clear objective of ensuring the survival of bluefin tuna, the 49 members of the Commission have agreed to increase the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) by 20% per annum over the next three years. In line with this percentage, the fishing quota for this species will reach 23,155 tonnes in 2017, leaving the 13,500 assigned in 2014 far behind.

This change in trend is underpinned by the scientific advice from ICCAT, which points to an improvement in bluefin tuna reserves in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. In fact, the reproducing stock could have quadrupled, increasing from the 150,000 tonnes estimated in 2008, which led to the launching of the urgent recovery plan for this species, to 585,000 in 2013.

This measure, however, is not without some controversy since, in this type of agreement, it doesn’t please everyone. While some environmentalist organizations consider that the Commission has been too hasty, countries such as Japan or Spain view the increase in quota as insufficient.

Google, SkyTruth and Oceana have presented a new tool directly related to the fishing sector, Global Fishing Watch. With this application it will be possible to identify, monitor and follow the route of fishing vessels, in real time, in the oceans around the world.

Global Fishing Watch will use data from the automatic identification system (AIS) that vessels over 300 tonnes are obliged to use. With this application, anybody connecting to the internet will be able to see, live, the route of over 140,000 ships and investigate where they have been over the past year. The system will also classify the ships, taking their pattern of movements as a basis, be they fishing vessels or otherwise.

The added value of this tool is that it will make it possible to identify any ships operating illegally, an activity that leads to global losses estimated at 10,000 to 23,000 million dollars each year.

Purchase of the majority shareholding of the Chilean salmon producer, Invermar, belonging to the Montanari family, is scheduled for confirmation by AquaChile in the near future.
This operation takes place months after the Montanari brothers hung up the For sale sign, in view of the creditor banks insistence, with which the company has a debt of around 150 million dollars. The fact is that over the past few years, Invermar has not managed to pick itself up: first came the ISA virus outbreak, then the low prices due to the oversupply of salmon in 2012, in the wake of which the company was unable to make a recovery, despite the good outlook for today’s salmon market.
This agreement, which provides for debt servicing, is subject to approval of the terms by the different credit banks. Once the process is concluded, Invermar will become a branch of AquaChile, and this will become the company with the highest number of fishfarm permits in Chile’s salmon industry, with an estimated production of 150,000 tonnes for 2015.

The simmering clash between the pollock fisheries of the U.S.A. and Russia is a fact ever since the latter gained an equal footing with the Alaska fisheries in terms of sustainability, under the auspices of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certificate. But the latest geo-political tensions, however, between Washington and Moscow, have once again highlighted their differences.
Although it was not unknown that since both fisheries have the MSC guarantee, the U.S.A. pollock producers have concentrated on protecting the Alaska brand, the bans imposed by the Russian authorities, at the end of August, have led the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers Association (GAPP) to counterattack by formally applying to the government agency of the United States responsible for regulating food (FDA) for it to amend the regulation on labelling this product, the aim being that only the species originating in Alaska can be named Alaska pollock.

We are still awaiting the FDA’s reply, but it is highly likely that, very shortly, we shall find pollock (full stop) and pollock with Alaska as the denomination of origin, on the shelves of U.S. supermarkets.

Following months of negotiations and speculations, finally the Norwegian group, Ewos, has confirmed acquisition of the Nova Austral salmon farm, to date owned by PescaChile, a branch of Pescanova, for 183 million dollars.

This transaction, apart from settling Nova Austral’s debt with Ewos, to date a subsidiary of PescaChile, means a return to salmon farming operations under normal productivity parameters, enabling Ewos Chile to supply fish feed on a commercial basis.

Despite Pescanova’s reluctance, this will not be the only sales operation of its assets in Chile. By the end of the month, the sale process of PescaChile is scheduled to take place, and as of yesterday, it was confirmed that Marine Harvest will buy Acuinova for 120 million dollars, although the operation depends on the approval of the Chilean competition authorities. We shall be keeping informed.

The blow dealt by the Russian veto on food products exported from the EU., U.S.A., Canada or Norway has not prevented salmon products in the latter country to close August on a positive note, increasing the volume of their exports by 11%, with a total volume of 85,000 tonnes, adding 565 million dollars, meaning a 3% increase in terms of the same period last year.

These figures are particularly significant when taking into account the fact that Russia is the main market for Norwegian aquaculture products. In fact, since the Russian veto came into force on 7th August last, the export value of Norwegian sea produce to Russia fell by 82%, in comparison with August of last year.

The growth in exports of Norwegian salmon in the course of last month is a true echo of the fact that worldwide demand for salmon is strong, giving the Norwegian salmon industry the chance to adapt to the new international trade scenario in which we find ourselves since Russia’s bans were made public.

The outlook for squid from South Africa (Loligo Reynaudi) is not promising. Following the closure of the fishery from April to June, catches in July have not turned out as expected, with a continuance of the downhill trend noted in the last seasons.

Everything points to the fact that change in water temperature is affecting availability of the resource, which has now had three years of low catches, leaving the 10,412 tonnes recorded back in 2010 far behind. The scarcity in supply of South African loligo has also been echoed in the export figures. In fact, exports to the EU fell from 18,682 tonnes in 2012 to 3,854 tonnes in 2013.

Faced with this lack of supply, prices have increased by over 60% over the past few years, and it is expected that as long as low catches continue, prices will carry on increasing.

The 16th edition of the International Frozen Seafood Exhibition (CONXEMAR) will be held from 7th to 9th October, in the Spanish town of Vigo, a world reference for its port and for being one of the largest bases for the frozen fish industry worldwide.
The event, fully consolidated as one of the most important exhibitions in the frozen sector internationally, will provide the meeting point for the processing, distribution, importing and exporting sectors for frozen seafood, hailing from over 84 countries.
As it could not be otherwise, the Interatlantic team will be expecting you on booth F6 to personally greet you and to give you first-hand information on our products and services.

News has reached us from China that the company, Yidu Jifa Cold Chain Logistics, has completed the 2nd stage of installing a refrigerated logistics chain in the port of Dalian, increasing its cold storage capacity by a further 100,000 tons.

This project is framed in the 12th five-year plan for cold storage logistics, launched in 2011. In line with this plan, the company is actively working so that by 2015, the port of Dalian will have a cold storage capacity of over one million tons, becoming the largest cold chain distribution trade platform in China and in Northeast Asia, as well as becoming the only Chinese logistics center to include a customs area, a berth zone specializing in cold storage, container port and, of course, the latest generation in cold storage installations, in accordance with international standards.

Bearing in mind that Dalian is one of the key actors worldwide in the frozen industry, especially as regards its role as a seafood processor, it can be said that, as they gradually approach their logistics objective, the company is increasingly becoming consolidated as a world reference in the overall management of the production and industrial distribution of frozen fish. For this reason, over five years ago, this led Interatlantic to identify this city to set up its branch office in China.

It was two years ago now when the first certificate backed by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) was granted, this being the MSC homologous body for aquatic species. Today, it can be said that this organization is just one step away from becoming a fully consolidated programme worldwide.

The number of certified farms for pangasius, salmon, tilapia and trout has already risen to close on 80 throughout the world, including countries in Asia, Scandinavia, Oceania, Europe and America. Furthermore, in the 50 farms currently pending certification, species for farming are being evaluated that still lack the ASC guarantee, specifically 5 scallop farms in Peru and 14 shrimp farms in Vietnam and Ecuador.

It could be said that the aquatic species producers eagerness to secure this certificate lies in the good acceptance of ASC products in the large distribution chains, as well as by the end consumer. In fact, the consultancy, GFK, has recently concluded that despite the short period of time available, 29% of all the Dutch fish buyers and 22% of the Germans, are already acquainted with the ASC logo. But not only that, since many of these buyers coincide in highlighting the seal as a determining factor that reinforces their decisions to buy.

Towards the end of June, the European Union suspended talks to close an agreement that set Thailand as a trade partner and leading supplier of shrimps and canned tuna to the Community market. This interruption occurred as a result of the relatively recent coup d’état in this Asian country and the scandal to do with employing slave labour in the Thai fishing industry, which we reported on in our previous edition.
Coincidence or not, a few days ago, Ecuador and the EU closed a bilateral trade agreement after four years of delaying negotiations. This agreement will make it possible for a long list of Ecuadorian products to access the Community market, free of taxation, shrimp exports and canned tuna being some of the products that will most benefit from it.
The trade terms of this agreement will not come into place until the second half of 2016, so that it has also been ratified that, until then, the current system of customs preferences for Ecuadorian products will continue.

Scallop imports into the United States have been increasing over the past five years and, in line with data for the first four months, this will also be the tonic for 2014.

Japan has positioned itself as the main source for imports in terms of value, amounting to 39.3 million dollars during the first four months of this year, a noteworthy 52% more in terms of the same period for 2013. Imports from China have increased by 29%, recording a figure of 36.7 million, and imports from Peru have risen to 20.5 million dollars, 24% more than for the same interval last year.

The data outlined above do not mean that scallop from the U.S.A. is being less accepted, but rather quite the contrary, the fact being that it is a national product, despite the high prices and, in order to meet the needs of international producers, it lacks sufficient stock to be able to meet the growing demand of the North American consumer.

Once again we echo the expansion plans of one of the large supermarket chains worldwide, involving strengthening its presence in China. More specifically, it has been made public that the British supermarket chain, Tesco, has closed an agreement with China Resources Enterprise (CRE) to set up the largest retail food distribution chain in the Asian giant.

As a result of the agreement, CRE, which has around 3,000 outlets in the country, will own 80% of the new chain, while Tesco, which has 131 sales points, will have a 20% participation. This new company will draw together Tesco’s international supply and multi-channel capacity with the local and brand know-how of CRE, which has a considerable influence in the Asian market.

As far as seafood is concerned, CRE currently offers national sourced products. Based on the premise that international supply is one of the main objectives for this alliance, we feel certain that this association will not let the opportunity pass by to offer a wider range of fish and shellfish to a population showing an increasing interest in such products.

Coinciding with the end of the Illex campaign, the Director of Natural Resources in the Falkland Islands has made it public that, during this last period, over 268,223 tonnes have been caught, improving the record noted for 1999 when Argentine illex catches rose to 266,201.

Previous figures have led to an important fall in prices for this product on an international scale, and in fact, there are no few local shipowners who have stocked raw material in the hope that the market will stabilize.

On the other hand, buyers are taking advantage of the situation to build up stocks of the product since, when it comes to species such as Illex, with somewhat unpredictable catches and considerable changes from one year to the next, conjectures and forecasts as to how the forthcoming campaign will be are out of place.

Over the past few days, there has been quite a stir because of the research conducted by the newspaper The Guardian, reporting the existence of slave labour in the shrimp production supply chain in Thailand. To be more precise, this British publication has pointed the finger at the giant Chaoen Pokphand Food (CP Foods), accusing it of buying fishmeal from suppliers that use slave labour.

The news has caused an even greater commotion since CP Foods supplies large distribution chains in the United States and Europe. Their reaction was quick to materialize and Carrefour has cancelled its contract, valued at 4 million dollars, with the Thai company. The Belgian chain Colruyt will be returning all its remaining stocks of CP Foods products, while the German companies Aldi and Penny have announced that they will be taking measures against the company.

This scandal arises at a time when the world shrimp industry, particularly in Thailand, is still suffering the effects of EMS and comes shortly after the EU announced its withdrawal of preferential import tariffs on the crustacean sourced from this Southeast Asian country. Experts foresee that this context could have a knock-on effect involving a greater demand from other countries such as Vietnam or Ecuador and, as a result, could increase shrimp prices all the more which, to date, was a product that had begun to emerge as a more economical alternative to the Thai product.

For the past three years now, the loss of interest by the European consumer in Vietnamese pangasius has become part of the general tonic in our sector. But however, far from giving up and fully aware of how sensitive the European consumer is to matters of sustainability, Vietnamese producers have trusted their brand image to the certificate granted by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), a body homologous with the MSC for fishfarmed species. In fact, two years ago the first certification was granted to the producer Vinh Hoan and today there are 45 producing centres of Vietnamese catfish that now have this mark.

Vietnam trusts that by offering quality, it will be able to win back the European market, and it is probably not far off track since the distribution chains in the United Kingdom, Holland and Germany are showing a considerable demand for ASC certified pangasius. The Vietnamese companies have invested their time and, more than anything, their resources in this certificate and therefore they must be satisfied because the interest in this product is not restricted to the Community market. South Korean supermarkets have also left space on their shelves and, just a few days ago, certified pangasius was officially presented in Japan by the hand of the retailer AON.

March last marked one year since the Pescanova crisis blew up and, after all this time, it seems that plans to rescue this Galician multinational have still barely made a start.

The latest episode occurred last week, when the judge was presented with an amended agreement for Pescanova’s creditors where the financial creditors were to take control of the firm, leaving Damm and Luxempart aside, while recovering 1,000 million euros of the debt (it is estimated that the group’s total debt is over 4,000 million), instead of the 700 that was considered as the initial proposal tabled by the previous companies. The bank’s plan also involved injecting 125 million euros in capital. This approach has already been approved by the magistrate, so we should be getting ourselves ready for a new change in the board of directors and for the public launching of new industrial partners.

Having come thus far, it only remains to see that the new managers of Pescanova focus, once and for all, on a business plan that will effectively save this multinational from going into liquidation.

According to the report, The EU fish market 2014, recently published by the European Commission, drafted on the basis of data compiled between 2008 and 2012, the EU is confirmed as the leading fish importer worldwide, accounting for 24% of the total value of global trade.

This study also explains that the European Union imports 55% of the fish that it consumes in the community territory, although the fishing trade between Member States is still very considerable. Norway and China are confirmed as the main exporters into the common market, while imports from the former are basically salmon and cod, and from China, whitefish. As far as wild and farmed fish are concerned, consumption of aquaculture products has fallen by 5%, as a result of reduced imports of farmed products, such as pangasius, and due to the reduction in aquaculture production in the Member States.

In macroeconomic terms, the European Union’s total expenditure in seafood products for 2012 was 52.7 billion euros, reaching its highest level since 2007. Spain, France and Italy, countries particularly affected by the current economic situation, together accounted for almost 60% of this figure (spending 11.3, 10 and 9.7 billion euros, respectively), demonstrating that the European consumer’s interest in seafood products is regardless of the crisis.

The most important date in the year for our sector will be from 6th to 8th May, at the European Seafood Exposition.

As is normal, the Interatlantic team will be expecting you on booth 1417 (Hall 7) to personally greet you and to give you first-hand information on our products and services.

The Galician company Pescapuerta has finally absorbed what was, until now, one of the companies in the group – Congelados Elmar – through a process involving, apart from the extinction of Elmar, the general transfer of its assets.

The absorption shows that the reasons behind the merger are justified by the fact that it was advisable to unify the activity of the two companies into a single one in order to reorganize and restructure the activities of the merged companies which, according to Pescapuerta, will make it possible to minimize costs by eliminating overlapping and by increasing efficiency.

The extinction of Elmar completes a gradual absorption process (the Castile based company stopped producing in 2012, and is now only involved in commercial activities) that began in 2009 when Pescapuerta acquired the León based company through an operation considered as one of the great acquisitions in the Spanish frozen sector of the past few years.

After mahi mahi prices dropped to rock bottom in 2012, a fall that came in the wake of record values practically excluding this product from the market, it seems that the dust has settled. More specifically, the latest statistics point to an upturn in mahi mahi prices, echoing an increased interest by the North American consumer.

In fact, since last October, U.S. imports of frozen mahi mahi have increased by 10%, which has meant a 16% increase in prices for portions and fillets. Such data come as the result of a greater demand for a product with a good price as well as having a more balanced supply over the past two fishing campaigns, which has given the market time to adapt and stabilize.

We can say that the explosive ups and downs in prices for the 2011/2012 campaigns has led to a balanced situation between supply and demand, at least up to the next fishing season.

Since the Chinese New Year, we have been noticing how prices for pangasius have risen. Specifically, the price of the raw material has increased by about 12% since last January.
Despite the fact that many point to the cause of this increase as being due to an increasingly unstable export market, the real reason behind these escalating prices is an important fall in raw material, the surface area occupied by pangasius farms has been reduced after a stream of three years of losses, as well as the increased demand in the U.S.A. and the re-opening of the Russian borders to Vietnamese imports.
If, despite the new customs tariffs imposed by the U.S. administration on Vietnamese pangasius, consumer trends in the U.S.A. and Russia remain as they are, it is highly likely that the supply shortage and high prices will continue up to June, a month when the pangasius stocks now breeding will be harvested. But however, certain trends point to the fact that beyond this date, prices will remain at current levels since, so far, they have simply been too low.

Oceana, the largest fishing company in South Africa, has announced that it will pay the employee beneficiaries of the Oceana Empowerment Trust under a share-ownership scheme, for black employees, created in 2006, with an 11.7% shareholding in the group, meaning dividends amounting to 27.1 million dollars.

The South African authorities have referred to this pay-out as a historical event and a fine example of public-private association. Francois Kuttel, Oceana’s CEO, praised the government and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for helping to make the share scheme possible. He particularly insisted on the fact that it is mainly large companies such as his that could effectively fish and create value for the sector, for their employees and, ultimately, for the Government.

Nonetheless, the pay-out and these statements have not been free from controversy since they arose on the backdrop of the controversial allocation process of fishing rights to small companies in the South African industry.

De acuerdo a declaraciones recientes de las autoridades de la FAO (Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura), la producción mundial de la pesca de captura salvaje y de la acuicultura han sumado 160 millones de toneladas durante el 2013, cifra que supera al récord que ya se había alcanzado el año anterior con las 157 millones de toneladas.
De acuerdo a estos datos, las exportaciones de pescado han ascendido a 136.000 millones de dólares. Esta suma refleja el fuerte crecimiento de la acuicultura y los altos precios de especies como el salmón o el langostino, además de una firme demanda de productos pesqueros en los mercados mundiales.
El porcentaje de la producción pesquera que se ha comercializado a nivel internacional ha sido de un 37%, porcentaje que confirma, una vez más, a nuestro sector como una de las industrias más globalizadas y dinámicas en la producción mundial de alimentos.

The 31st edition of Seafood Expo North America will be taking place from 16th to 18th of this month, in Boston (U.S.A.) and since it could not be otherwise, Interatlantic will be there.
Our team will be expecting you on booth 2545 to welcome you personally and to convey to you, at first hand, all the information on our products and services.
Be seeing you in Boston!

The latest headlines in the specialized press continue to draw up the balance sheet for last year’s figures. This time, it is Alaska’s turn after it disclosed that China has confirmed itself to be its main importer, with figures of around 1,3 billion dollars. These figures are particularly relevant if we look back at the year 2000, when Alaska’s exports to the Asian giant amounted to 103 million dollars. Now we see how, since then, this figure has increased tenfold.
More specifically, more than half of the exports recorded in 2013 were in fish, which is not only due to the fact that China is one of the largest sea produce processors worldwide, but also because of the increase interest among Chinese consumers in Alaska fish as a healthy, quality product.
Nor should we overlook Alaska’s geographically strategic position in terms of China, which has encouraged international trade between both countries and which, undoubtedly, has contributed to the fact that these figures deserve a headline.

According to recent statements by the FAO authorities (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), world production of wild and farmed fish have amounted to 160 million tonnes in 2013, a figure surpassing the record already achieved the previous year, with 157 million tonnes.
In line with these figures, fish exports have risen to 136 billion dollars. This sum echoes the marked increase in aquaculture and the high prices brought for species such as salmon or shrimp, besides a firm demand for fish products on the world markets.
The percentage of fish production marketed worldwide has been 37%, a percentage which, once again, confirms our sector as one of the most globalized, dynamic industries in world food production.

On 28th January last, Marine Harvest rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), becoming the first fish farming company to be listed on this Exchange.
With this strategy, this Norwegian company, which controls around 22% of world production of fish farmed Atlantic salmon, has stated its intention to align with the protein production companies listed in the United States and that they may be interested in diversifying their assets in the field of seafood.
But however, Marine Harvest’s ultimate goal could be to be revaluate itself with an upward trend on a Stock Exchange as strong as the New York one, as well as on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Other theories suggested are that the Norwegian company may be seeking to change the way it is regarded as a company devoted to salmon farming and to position itself as a leading protein company worldwide.
Regardless of the inevitable speculations, only the market will tell where the company directed by Alf-Helge Aarskog is heading.

In line with previous years, in 2013 Asian seafood companies have been especially active in the international mergers and acquisitions market. Companies such as Pacific Andes, Maruha Nichiro or the Thai Union Frozen Products, among others, have moved into the ranking of the 100 largest companies in our sector worldwide.
The economic scarcity of a large number of fishing companies in Europe and the United States along with the clear aim to acquire raw material for its domestic market and to position itself in new markets, has played right into the hands of Asian entrepreneurs who have a high purchasing power as well as being unwilling to let the opportunity go by to grasp hold of first division assets on an international level.
Nevertheless, not all the operations have had the desired success. Last year has also brought disinvestments, such as the final withdrawal internationally of the Japanese giant, Nissui, after the firm with which it operated in Brazil led to losses of 84 million dollars.

Despite Pescanova’s attempts to stop Pesca Chile going into liquidation along with its salmon farming subsidiaries, Acuinova and Nova Austral, the reorganization administration of Pescanova’s Chilean subsidiary, Herman Chadwick, is not willing to make it easy for the Galician multinational.
It has recently come to light that the reorganization administration of Pesca Chile has decided to go ahead with its sale process and has reopened negotiations with the Canadian group, Cooke Aquaculture and with Ecoconsult. These meetings are being held following the meeting of creditors of the Chilean subsidiary at a time when the decision is being made as to who will take control of the Galician multinational. But however, the Chilean creditors do not want to wait any further as they are in a hurry to get paid and, furthermore, they are not willing to go through such high debt relief (involving figures of 70% and 80%), as is being proposed in Spain.
Although the situation of the parent company has become all the more complicated with the turning down of Damm’s offer and the arrival on the scene of the Centerbridge and Bluecrest investment funds, the common denominator in all the proposals to refloat Pescanova involves keeping Pesca Chile as a strategic asset for the multinational.
We will keep you informed.

As we already mentioned in previous editions of our newsletter, following the MSC’s putting the Alaska pollock fisheries on a par with those in the Sea of Okhotsk in terms of sustainability, the buyers of this prod

uct have been waiting to see how the market would react.
As the headline explains, the first round has already taken place and the Alaskan fisheries have a head start. The Chinese processors have made the difference by opting for pollock from these fisheries which, among other reasons, is mainly due to the fact that the negotiation with U.S. companies is less complicated than with the Russian firms.
Although it is likely that the greater demand for Alaska pollock will set the raw material of this product $100/MT above the Russian price, the latter will help to put the pressure on so that this gap will not increase in order to ensure a competitive price on the market.
After the Chinese New Year, when pollock production restarts, we will see if these trends are confirmed or, on the contrary, if the Russian pollock fisheries gain positions. We will keep you in the picture.

In recent statements, Carrefour has announced that it will go one step further in its commitment to sustainable fishing by removing deep-water species while doubling its commitment to MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified products.
According to company sources, this chain will gradually remove its range of deep-water fish species, such as cutlass fish or grenadier, and will replace them with other whitefish species. Since 2007, this French company has been reducing its range of these products, removing species such as ling or emperor fish. Carrefour will also be doubling the number of products, mostly in frozen and canned fish, in its own brand certified by the MSC, increasing the number of products from the current 22 to 50 by the year-end. To the delight of fish suppliers, this French company is currently on the hunt for new species to help it meet these objectives.
Carrefour has commented that this strategy is a nod to the customers who have been calling for more actions in terms of sustainability. Although it is not new for the consumer to demand actions of this kind, what certainly is new is the chain’s firm commitment with the MSC, a certification that is becoming increasingly acknowledged in France and in Europe and one which will undoubtedly play an important role in the company’s future strategy.

Since 1st January last, Russia has forbidden 485 Norwegian exporters of herring, cod, haddock and capelin from importing into its market. Out of the 515 Norwegian suppliers operating to date, only 29 companies may continue to export these products into the Russian market. Although the ban does not affect salmon or trout from Norway, species that Russia imports in large quantities, quality control on these products will be stricter.
Russian veterinary authorities have explained that these restrictions are due to the fact that Norwegian suppliers are not complying with local sanitary requirements, but some believe that what lies behind these prohibitions is support for sales channels authorized by the government to the detriment of independent sales channels.

The Norwegian authorities are dealing with the matter as a top priority since Russia has been the leading buyer of Norwegian fish in 2013, valued at 950 million dollars, with a volume of 265,700 tonnes.
Norway is not the only country encountering difficulties when it comes to selling to Russia. Since 9th January last, the Russian Federation has especially closed its borders to incoming fish from Estonia, and exports from Spain and Indonesia have been banned since April and June, respectively, of last year. China, Lithuania and Vietnam are also suffering restrictions. Closure of borders of a giant such as Russia has not left the administrations of these states indifferent. As in the case of the Norwegian authorities, they are working around the clock to re-establish exports to their VIP customer, Russia.

The decision taken by the Department of the Environment of Canada has caused some stir recently, a decision which, for the first time, authorizes industrial production of roe from a transgenic animal. This resolution has given the North American company, AguaBounty, the go-ahead to market genetically improved salmon roe on an industrial scale, a type of fish known for its faster growth rate and larger size.
Some communications media have been quick to spread the news that genetically modified (GM) salmon is being allowed to be marketed, although such headlines are still a far cry from reality since transgenic salmon will not reach the distribution chains as long as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve it.
But however, many view the decision of the Canadian authorities as a prior step towards such authorization, this being the final link in the chain after the FDA stated, in 2010, that eating this fish is safe and, in 2012, it concluded that salmon does not affect the environment. It can be said that the first genetically modified animal is now one step away from our tables.