Trade and Markets
Globalisation will remain an indispensable part of the fish industry
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 3 2020.
The coronavirus has largely brought public life to a standstill. Stock markets have plunged into the red, freedom of movement has been severely restricted in some places, and the consequences for the global economy are not foreseeable. One thing is certain, however: the longer the standstill lasts, the more profound will be the disruption in the global fish industry. Familiar market structures could change, raising fears and anxieties about the future for many of those affected.
International Cold Water Prawn Forum, November 2019, Newfoundland and Labrador
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 1 / 2020
The International Cold Water Prawn Forum brings together companies, institutions, researchers, and others, with an interest in cold water prawns. Every two years the forum holds a cold water prawn conference to discuss the state of stocks, their harvesting, processing, and marketing.
Shrimp can be either wild-caught or farmed and according to the FAO, while production from the wild has shown a faintly growing trend, since about 2003 volumes have been more or less stable, while farmed shrimp production over the same period has increased exponentially and is likely to continue increasing.
Consumer survey yields vital insights in consumer habits
The second Global Fishery Forum, which was held on 13-15 September 2018 in St. Petersburg, Russia, offered an extensive programme covering various emerging topics from global fishing activities and projections for 2050, development of aquaculture, global consumer markets, technologies, and popularisation of Russian fish products.
During the second day of the Global Fishery Forum, the conference “Russian fish: a strategy for promoting Russian fish on the Russian market”, gathered experts for discussion on how to increase fish consumption. The main questions looked at understanding what Russian consumers eat and what producers are offering them, consumer awareness and the role of mass-media in this process, what can be done to stimulate consumer demand on the market, and opportunities for retail chains to increase consumption of fisheries products in the country.
Herring is the most-consumed fish in Russia
In 2016, consumption of fish and seafood products in Russia was at 21.1 kg per capita (live weight equivalent), according to the research carried out by the All-Russian Association of Fish Breeders, Entrepreneurs and Exporters (VARPE). The market size was estimated at more than 3 million tonnes of fisheries products. Herring was the leading species with 2.81 kg per capita consumption, followed by salmon species (2.73 kg per capita), Alaska pollock (2.59 kg per capita), cod (2 kg per capita) and mackerel (1.9 kg per capita). These 5 top species make up 12 kg per capita or more than 56% of all fish and seafood products in the country. Consumption of squid, shrimp and crab was about 0.6, 0.25 and 0.14 kg per capita respectively, representing about 5% of the total fish and seafood consumption in the country.
Convincing benefits for suppliers and buyers
A lot of primary food producers try to sell part of their products directly to consumers and thereby circumvent other forms of trade. What has long been common practice for agricultural products is now becoming increasingly popular for fish and seafood, too. This marketing principle has advantages for both parties: the producers get better prices and the customers get optimal freshness.
When at around 4 p.m. the "petits bateaux" return to the port of Le Guilvinec on the French Atlantic coast and the fishermen unload their freshly caught fish or langoustines they are already eagerly awaited at the quayside by locals, restaurant operators and tourists. Fish that is not snapped up immediately can be seen shortly afterwards in one of the harbour fish shops, for example "La Marée du Jour", where crowds of customers are also already waiting. Three and a half hours further north-east by car in Cancale a good half dozen colourful stalls have been set up next to the town’s beach. That is where local oyster farmers offer their specialities. It would be hard to get "creuses de Cancale" fresher, or for that matter at a lower price, than here. Fresh fish sales straight from the fishing boat are also popular along the German Baltic coast. Anyone who wants to buy freshly caught cod or herring directly from the fisherman in the harbour of Wismar has to be an early riser: the town’s remaining fishermen usually land their day’s catch around breakfast time. And a lot of German trout producers, too, sell their fish directly to their customers. This sales channel is in the meantime practically indispensable from an economic point of view. Almost all producers offer their products in farm shops or at weekly markets, both fresh and processed – mainly hot smoked. Some trout farmers even have their own snack stands or fish restaurants. Direct sales are more lucrative than supplying to wholesalers and retailers. And they enable even smaller enterprises with relatively low production volumes to stay in business.
Remaining agile in a dynamic marketplace
The Internet offers fishermen and retail shops ways to sell their catches that were unheard of a decade ago. Young (and older) consumers have quickly understood the benefits of online shopping, and vendors must keep pace with the latest, continually changing developments.
Sellers enjoy superior visibility, allowing smaller concerns to compete with larger businesses, with 24/7 exposure to a wider national, even global, audience. They also benefit from enhanced business management. By tracking data about customer purchases, sellers learn their customers’ preferences and are able to target those groups with specific offers. An Internet presence allows businesses to remain agile in a dynamic marketplace.
Two businesses, while maintaining their physical stores in Vigo, Spain, have embraced the new technology. La Pescadería de mi Barrio (My Neighbourhood Fishmonger) is a business-to-business (B2B) concern. Delmaralplato is both B2B and business to customer, selling to restaurants and consumers.
GlobalG.A.P. is one of the world’s most important certification standards for food safety. Initially, it acted as a business-to-business standard, attesting that the products of certified suppliers were safe and their production sustainable. In the meantime, however, GlobalG.A.P. is increasingly becoming a business-to-consumer standard.
Elimination of tariffs, quotas to benefit EU exporters
Combined, the EU and Japan have 9 percent of the world’s population, 28 percent of its GDP and 36 percent of its trade. Billions of euros’ worth of goods and services are traded between the two economies; hundreds of thousands of jobs are directly supported by this trade, and many more hundreds of thousands have been created by investment by the EU and Japan in each other’s economies. In seafood alone, two-way trade reached a record EUR395 million in 2016. Combined, the EU and Japan together account for over one-third of global seafood trade.
Deal to reduce consumer prices and boost trade
On 21 September 2017, the long-awaited free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement which the EU Parliament approved on 15 February 2017, provisionally came into force after more than eight years of arduous, detailed negotiations.
The EU-Canada trade agreement CETA, as it is known, eliminates virtually all tariffs on imports between the two economies, harmonizes and reduces trade regulations and related structural barriers, and provides a mechanism to resolve disputes concerning, trade, investment, and other economic matters. The provisional nature of CETA means that certain parts have not yet been completely agreed; these parts relate to investment protection and the Investment Court System. The rest of the agreement, including tariff reduction and removal, has entered into force.
Increasing sustainable production will call for concerted efforts
The case study “Mussel Farming” has been investigated in the framework of the European project SUCCESS (Horizon 2020) along with other aquaculture case studies. This overview of the European mussel farming sector is based on a presentation given during the workshop at Cattolica (Italy) in May 2017 and relies on preliminary outputs of the project regarding this aquaculture sector.
Globally, the production of farmed mussels has exceeded that from the wild since the end of the 1950s, and the volume share of capture fisheries fell below 10% in 2005. In the EU, mussel farming and fisheries are well-established sectors in some countries, but have exhibited a downward production trend since the beginning of the century, whereas they are still expanding in other parts of the world. The volume share of production in the EU progressively decreased from 47% to 27% over the period 2000-2015; in the meantime, China’s share rose substantially from 30% to 42% and the contribution of Chile grew from 2% to 12% thanks to the development of aquaculture (FAO Fishstat).
Global landings of small pelagics are expected to grow by seven percent in 2017 compared with 2016. The major reason for this growth is an expected higher catch of Peruvian anchovy. Catches of Atlantic mackerel and Atlantic herring are also expected to increase.
The combined increase for herring and mackerel landings in 2017 is expected to be about 4 percent more than in 2016. This could put some pressure on prices, but since the increase is relatively modest, no dramatic price changes are expected. Instead, exchange rates may play a greater role in price determination.