Russian exports of pollock, sockeye, crabs, herring, flatfish and sea urchins from the Far East in first five months of 2008. Full story.
In the first five months of 2008 the Russian Far East export trade in seafood concentrated on pollock, salmons, flatfish, crabs and other products, according to the overview prepared by analysts of http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/) based on Japanese and Russian sources.
By the start of the fixed seine salmon fishery, the Chinese frozen salmon imports have been displaying fairly optimistic indications for further development. The total volume of shipments of frozen sockeye from all the sources to China since the start of the year through to the beginning of summer reached 2500 tonnes, while in the previous two years the imports were much smaller at 2000 tonnes in the same period of the year. With a 47% growth of imports, China is a potentially important market both for the US and the Russian producers. In May 2008 the Chinese import of other Pacific salmon species from Russia exceeded import of sockeye nearly 10-fold and amounted to 2300 tonnes with an 80% rise on last year, and the growth could be mostly attributed to Russian shipments rising nearly 4.5-fold and exceeding 1100 tonnes. Thanks to the above, the total volume of Russian exports of salmon species, mostly pinks and chums, to China since the start of the year exceeded the last year shipments by more than 12% and amounted to ca.2700 tonnes. The average prices of imported salmon in May were reported at 2 USD per kilo CIF, while the average price from the beginning of the year amounted to 1.90 USD per kilo versus more than 2.30 USD per kilo in 2007.
The Chinese market of frozen Alaska pollock and cod family species is of special importance for the Russian fishermen, and increased activity of the Chinese importers was regarded a fairly favourable factor for the Russian side. In May 2008 the Chinese importers purchased more than 27,000 tonnes of mostly H&G Alaska pollock, or 50% up on the corresponding result of last year, while the total volume exported from Russia to China since the start of the year reached 170,000 tonnes by the end of May, up from 165,000 tonnes in 2007. At the same time, the average prices of the Russian pollock exports in the first five months of the year 2008 slightly decreased to 1.65 USD per kilo, or less than 5% down on 2007.
Flounders and halibuts
In the meantime, Russia's shipments of flounders and halibuts to China in May 2008 were progressing less quickly than in the same month of 2007. In May 2008 the Russian exporters shipped only 50 tonnes of halibuts, or 805 tonnes down on May 2007, while shipments of flounders went down by nearly 80% and amounted to merely 600 tonnes. Only increased average prices from less than 1.20 USD per kilo to approximately 1.35 USD per kilo made the situation with the Russian exports of flounder to China less pessimistic. In January-May 2008 the Chinese import of Russian flounder came down nearly by 9000 tonnes to 3500 tonnes, while shipments of white and black halibuts grew more than twice to 1000 tonnes.
In May Russian exporters were shipping frozen squid and crab to China more actively as compared to May 2007. The Chinese import of squid amounted to nearly 700 tonnes, while in 2007 not even one tonne of squid was cleared at customs. Imports of Russian crabs amounted to ca. 600 tonnes, 17.5% up on last year. However, while the share of the Russian products in the total volume of China's frozen squid imports was fairly small (amounting to only 2.5% in May 2008), the contribution of the Russian produce in the Chinese crab importation was much larger at ca.30%. At the same time, the growth of Russia's crab shipments in May 2008 did not produce a large effect onto the general situation, which was observed in the first half of the year due to stricter crab fishery management in Russia. More specifically, in January-May 2008 Russia's officially registered exports of crabs to China totaled less than 2400 tonnes, practically 60% down on the same period last year. The Japanese specialists say that Russian exporters reduced shipments of red king crab and blue king crab to the lowest level, while in 2007 the two species dominated in the nation's crab export to China.
The situation with the Russian shipments of crabs to Japan was also characterized by reduced volumes, but it differed for increased prices. In May 2008 the Japanese import of Russian crabs amounted to a little more than 2100 tonnes (less crab meat), 400 tonnes or 16% down on last year. As for the species, the Japanese importers reduced their purchases of red king crab and blue king crab by 37% to less than 600 tonnes, while the average prices grew by 50% to 1900 Yen per kilo. The Japanese imports of frozen snow crabs dwindled by no more than 5% to approximately 1500 tonnes, while the average prices practically did not rise and remained at 1100 Yen per kilo. In the meantime, the Japanese import of hairy crab grew nearly 4-fold, but amounted to 15 tonnes only, while the average prices jumped by 60% to 1100 Yen per kilo. In the first five months of the year 2008 the total export of Russian red king crabs to Japan also decreased by 37% to 3000 tonnes, while the Japanese import of Russian snow crab dropped nearly by 10% to less than 2900 tonnes and only shipments of frozen hairy crab grew 5.5-fold, but they were limited to less than 35 tonnes.
In May 2008 Russia's shipments of live crabs to Japan were progressing much brisker than in April 2008 and the Japanese specialists even thought that the stricter fishery management measures turned out to be not very efficient. The total volume of all the crab species in May 2008 amounted to ca.3800 tonnes, only several dozens of tons down on May 2007, with the largest decrease reported for live snow crab, mostly opilio, import of which amounted to ca.2850 tonnes, 15% down on 2007. The Japanese import of hairy crab went down by 7% to less than 160 tonnes, while shipments of live red king crab and other king crabs jumped 2.5 times to nearly 800 tonnes. Japan's total import of live king crab harvested by the Russian fleets in the first five months of the year 2008 amounted to 1400 tonnes, less than 100 tonnes down on the corresponding result of 2007, while the nation's import of live snow crab grew by the same 100 tonnes to 7200 tonnes. The grand total volume of Russia's exports of live crabs amounted to ca.9050 tonnes, only 130 tonnes down on January-May 2007.
The average prices of imported live red king crab and blue king crab as per late May amounted to ca.655 Yen per kilo, going down on 11.5% as compared to 2007. The average prices of live snow crab exported from Russia to Japan amounted to a little more than 405 Yen per kilo, 7.3% down on 2007, while the prices of live hairy crab were reported at ca. 710 Yen per kilo, 11.6% down on 2007.
In May 2008 the Russian exports of live crab to the South Korea were also fairly brisk. Shipments of red and blue king crabs jumped to 400 tonnes in May and exceeded 1500 tonnes since the start of the year. Shipments of snow crab in May grew to in excess of 800 tonnes, and the total volume of Russian king crabs shipped to the South Korea in January-May 2008 amounted to more than 2500 tonnes.
The South Korean import of frozen crabs from Russia was less active. Shipments of king crabs in May 2008 were limited to only 30 tonnes with the total result since the start of the year amounting to less than 300 tonnes. Approximately 650 metric tons of frozen snow crab and other crabs were imported into the country in January-May 2008, though in May 2008 these shipments were fairly brisk and amounted to ca.300 tonnes.
In May 2008 the Russian exporters reduced their shipments of frozen pollock roe to the South Korea with the prices increased to nearly 10 USD per kilo CIF. More specifically, in May 2008 the shipments were nearly halved as compared to the same month of 2007 and amounted to 400 tonnes, and the total volume of Russia's frozen APO roe export to the South Korea since the start of the year went down approximately by 500 tonnes to less than 1700 tonnes with the average prices reported at 8 USD per kilo.
As for the Russian exports of Alaska pollock roe to Japan, both prices and volumes displayed a big rise in May. The average prices increased by nearly 25% to ca.1360 Yen per kilo through the month, while the volume of shipments grew by 30% to 6500 tonnes. The total results since the start of the year amounted to ca.10,000 tonnes versus 7500 tonnes in the same period last year.
The above indices prove attempts of the Japanese importers and processors to retain the largest share of supply of the US and Russian pollock roe this year. The results of the Chinese import of the product also prove the above statement, as the Russian shipments of frozen pollock roe to China in May 2008 were limited to less than 40 tonnes versus 1300 tonnes in May 2007 with the total export volume since the start of the year decreased by two thirds to ca.850 tonnes.
As for other products imported to Japan from Russia, the situation with shipments of frozen herring was remarkable for a 270% growth in May with the total volume jumping to ca.1000 tonnes (the average prices grew by more than 55% and exceeded 120 Yen per kilo). Such positive dynamics actually contrasted with the reports about a weak fishery of roe herring in the north part of the Sea of Okhotsk. Russia's shipments of frozen halibut, mostly black halibut, exceeded the last year result more than 4 times in May 2008 and amounted to ca.540 tonnes, while the average prices decreased by 10% to less than 650 Yen per kilo. Shipments of frozen shrimps (all species) rose practically by 10% to ca.700 tonnes in May 2008.
Russia's exports of live sea urchins to Japan slowed down greatly in May 2008 and their volume amounted to less than 1300 tonnes, 16% down on April 2008 and 20% down on May 2007. The total volume of shipments since the start of the year amounted to ca.5300 tonnes, more than 20% or 1400 tonnes down on January-May 2007. The average prices in May decreased a little and amounted to ca.480 Yen per kilo.
The total volume of Russia's shipments to Japan in May 2008 amounted to ca.21,400 tonnes, 4.5% up on May 2007. The total value of the Japanese import of Russian finfish and other aquatic products in May 2008 amounted to 17.65 billion Yen, nearly 25% up on last year. Such a big rise of the value could be attributed mostly to growing prices of frozen Alaska pollock roe.