Moscow's freshfrozen fish market affected by rising pollock exports

February 20, 2009 16:18

As per the third week of February 2009 trade in freshfrozen seafood in Moscow has displayed mixed price trends, analysts of ( concluded after analyzing the current situation on the market.

Kapitan Morgun transport vessel owned by Murmansk-based Robinzon called at Murmansk port. The event turned into a very important development of the week because for the first time after the five-year moratorium on the capelin fishery the ship brought to Murmansk 1100 metric tons of capelin. For the year 2009 Russia's capelin quotas has been approved at 152,000 tonnes. Another three trawlers are to leave for the capelin grounds one of those days and on 21-22 February 2009 Murmansk Fish Port is expecting Alexander Shabalin owned by Murmansk Trawl Fleet calling to land frozen capelin.

According to a spokesman in Murmansk fishery circles, the situation on the capelin grounds is mixed. More specifically, the Norwegian fishermen harvest the species with purse seine gear and one fish school makes up a shipload, while the Russian fishermen mostly harvest the species with trawl gear and in order to haul at least 10 tonnes they have to follow the school which is moving slowly within several hours. Under this situation complete exhaustion of the quota is quite a challenge.

The reports as per the third week of February 2009 said that Viktor Mironov transport reefer has arrived at Arkhangelsk with herring and blue whiting catches. Viktor Mironov actually transshipped 1500 tonnes of herring and blue whiting from four trawlers owned by OAO Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet (plc). That was the first fish delivered from the fishing grounds to Arkhangelsk in 2009. The next reefer with herring load, Zavolzhsk namely, was to arrive at the port on 20 February 2009.


In the meantime, Moscow hosted an international seafood show Prodexpo 2009. The pavilion for seafood producers and distributors grew somewhat smaller with the bulk of the exhibitors representing canned seafood producers. Besides, there were also large and colourful booths of snack distributors. Canned seafood producers said at the show that the financial crisis had hardly affected their sales with the business doing well. Canned seafood importers faced some problems, but they were sure that despite decrease of the total import volumes and product price rise they would be able to maintain the market share thanks to high quality of imported products against the lack of product analogues in Russia. Besides, the demand for the products was fairly good.


As per the third week of February 2009 pollock prices continued rising. The industry insiders explained the price rise by fairly good situation on the export market. The fishermen have realised that mandatory clearance of EEZ's catches at Russian ports is not at all a complicated lengthy procedure. Therefore they started boosting sales to the overseas markets. Even those companies which harvested pollock in the inshore waters have been keen to clear the cargo for further export. Against the background of stable demand and lack of the supply for the domestic market pollock prices in Russia kept rising.

According to one importer, prices for Canadian hake as well as for products from other countries were decreasing due to fairly good inventories in Russia causing deceleration of sales. The Canadian exporters were actually unprecedentedly offering their products at prices below those in the end of the previous year 2008. Argentinean exporters, which had earlier been very difficult of access, approached the Russian importers by themselves to offer products at prices and terms open for discussion.

As for tilapia fillets, the prices were rising due to the lack of the coldstore inventories. The traders did have something to offer, but the stock actually available was small. In this period of the year tilapia supply is small in China itself because the fish has not yet gained weight and the sales normally gather momentum by summer. Certified companies do import the products, but in small volumes. Besides, the pressure is made not only by the lack of money but also by weak demand.

Small decrease of pangasius prices, according to several importers, was caused by resistance to high prices. The price expectations did not come true and as per the third week of February 2009 the prices were slightly decreased in order to push the demand up. Besides, importers have had to cash the money invested into fillet purchases and the shelflife of products imported in 2008 in large volumes is coming to an end.

A gradual price decrease has been also observed for capelin in view of the renewed fishery. There were decreases of prices for herring, mackerel, Norwegian salmon and pangasius fillets, while blue whiting prices remained stable.

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