Russian and Norwegian fishermen looking into market prospects for whitefish in Europe

January 20, 2012 12:53

Norwegian Fishermen's Association (Norges Fiskarlag) and Murmansk-led Union of Fishermen of the North are holding consultations to work out strategy for whitefish pricing in view of economic turmoil in Europe, reports

The sides will assess potential threat of a drop of demand for whitefish, first of all, for cod, on the European market against the background of the financial crisis and growing coldstore inventories in the EU.

According to some Russian exporters, certain interests are now playing a big game to bring cod prices down. The campaign began in early December 2011 and it was focused on the lack of cash flow in Europe (due to problems in the bank system), the consumer demand and naturally cod prices to be falling down respectively.

However, the main markets for cod fillets are UK and USA, where buyers have no cash flow problems. The market for small and medium size headed cod is China where the financial crisis is not forecasted. As for large cod, the key markets for clipfisk are Spain and Portugal where the economic situation is not that stable.

Therefore, the Russian exporters think that due to such activities the market situation will fluctuate feverishly for a couple of months and then it will calm down.


Norwegian exporters take the problem with a lesser optimism. Current processes on the European markets of whitefish products have been in strong focus by Norway's Raw Fish Association (Råfisklaget) and the Norwegian Seafood Federation (Fiskeri- og havbruksnæringens landsforening, FHL), which have met to negotiate minimum prices for 2012. As a result of the talks, minimum price for cod 1- in Norway has been left at the last year level, while cod 1-6 has been cut by NOK 1.00 per kilo. Prices for cod 6+ have gone down by NOK 1.25 per kilo. Prices for cod roe and liver have been also decreased.

According to the Norwegian Fishermen's Association, the above decisions have been backed by too pessimistic evaluation of the situation and the Norwegian side have entered into consultations with the Russian fishermen in order to get to know their point of view regarding the market situation in 2012.

Actually the problem roots in the fact that importers in the South Europe (Portugal, Spain and Italy) have been facing cash flow problems to pay for Norwegian seafood. Such situation can result into such consequences as suspension of import shipments from Norway, longer credit, larger inventories and cash flow problems.

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