News from the EUMOFA’s Monthly Highlights N°3 – 2018

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By Milthon Lujan

EUMOFA’s Monthly Highlights now includes a section that examines extra-EU import prices, presenting the average unit values per week, in EUR per kg, for nine species.
Three species, the most relevant in terms of value and volume, are examined every month: Alaska pollock from China, Atlantic salmon from Norway and tropical shrimp (genus Penaeus) from Ecuador.

Three species change every month. For this issue, we analyse blue grenadier, sockeye salmon, and preparations of surimi,

Three species are examined as part of the commodity group selected. This month, the focus is on lesser or Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut and plaice.

Surimi industry in the EU

Surimi is a concentrate of soluble proteins extracted from whitefish. Fish fillets are minced, rinsed and made into an odourless, tasteless paste; cyoprotectants are added to preserve gelling and elastic properties and then it is frozen into blocks called “surimi base”. Processors transform this raw material with other ingredients to give it texture, taste and colour, and obtain the final product, called surimi or kamaboko, which is popular in Asiatic and European markets.

Surimi in the world. In 2016, the 820.000 tonnes of surimi base produced globally in 2016 meant a total production of prepared surimi close to 2.7 million tonnes. Global supply of surimi has remained stable in the last several years. China led world supply in 2016, with a production of 1.2 million tonnes.

Processing in the EU: Structure and evolution of EU production. EU has 9 producers of prepared surimi (sticks and other presentations): four in France, three in Spain, one each in Lithuania and Poland. EU production, estimated at 148.000 tonnes in 2016, was mainly in Spain, France and Lithuania which produced 58.000, 52.000 and 35.000 tonnes, respectively. The raw materials used by the EU mainly include Alaska pollock, blue whiting, blue grenadier and Pacific hake The surimi base produced in the EU (France) is made from blue whiting.

The EU market. The EU market for prepared surimi is close to 170.000 tonnes, out of which the two leading countries, Spain and France, represent more than 70%. In France, the market for prepared surimi is traditionally 98–99% fresh, while in Spain, which is traditionally a market for frozen products, the proportion of frozen products decreased from about 97% in the early years of surimi popularity in Spain, to about 40% now.
Fisheries and aquaculture in Australia

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Catch. Australian catches (whose reporting year goes from July to June) amounted to 174.247 tonnes in 2015–16, of which 73% was fish, 20% crustaceans and 7% molluscs. In 2015-2016, the sector experienced a 13% or 20.000 tonne volume growth compared to the previous year, and an 8% value increase, which brought total catch value of the fisheries sector to approximately EUR 1.193 million.

Aquaculture. The steady increase of Australian aquaculture production over the past few years has been mainly driven by salmonids, mostly consisting of Atlantic salmon. Oyster culturing, the second most important aquaculture sector in Australia, is done for both food utilization and the production of pearls. Prawn and tuna, also top farmed species, have seen prawn production increase over the past seven years while tuna fattening has stagnated.

Processing. While there is limited seafood processing in Australia, there are a few significant clusters or hubs. Tasmania is the primary processing state for fresh gutted salmon exports, as well as higher–processed products for the domestic market, such as salmon fillets and smoked salmon. Port Lincoln, one of Australia’s most important fisheries trade ports, also processes various types of tuna, as well as oysters, mussels, rock lobsters and abalone.

Consumption. While global per capita seafood consumption grew by more than 40% between 1993 and 2013, Australian had 30% growth. In comparison, the EU per capita consumption in the same period, increased 17% while, in the US and Japan, consumption declined by 6% and 28%, respectively. Australia’s seafood trade sees high-priced species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs exported in exchange for imports of lower priced fish fillets, frozen shrimp, squid and octopus, and canned tuna and salmon.
Trade with the EU. The EU-Australia seafood trade is minor, with the EU exporting far more to Australia, than Australia to the EU. Australia mainly imports smoked salmon and various types of canned seafood from the EU, while its exports to the EU are typically products with a higher unit value, such as abalone, tropical shrimp, tuna and certain high-value marine fish, such as grouper.

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Imports. Thailand is the major origin of Australian seafood imports, followed by China, Vietnam and New Zealand. Thailand primarily exports canned/prepared tuna, canned salmon, prawns and other preserved seafood, China mainly ships prawns, squid, scallops, Vietnam supplies prawns and is a major source of various frozen fish, such as frozen pangasius fillets, and New Zealand mainly ships salmonids and molluscs to Australia. Norway and Denmark, the only European countries among Australia’s main suppliers, are in the top 10, with salmon and smoked salmon, respectively, as the major products exported.

Exports. Australian seafood exports are dominated by high value crustaceans and molluscs, such as rock lobster and abalone, while the majority of the fish exports are high-end segments items, such as bluefin tuna, salmon, barramundi and grouper. Since 2015, the kilogram value of seafood exports has been 3 to 4 times higher than the kilogram value of seafood imports. Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and China are Australia’s major destination market. Vietnam imports nearly 90% of the value of Australia’s rock lobster exports, Hong Kong imports its abalone, rock lobster and prawns, Japan’s imports are dominated by frozen and fresh whole tuna, followed by prawns, abalone and salmon, while China’s main import is gutted Atlantic salmon, followed by abalone, prawns and rock lobster.

First sales: Europe
In January 2018, first−sales value and volume increased in Italy, Poland and Sweden, but dropped in Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Spain and, particularly, in the UK, compared with January 2017. The lowest first-sales prices of common sole in January 2018 were in Italy (10,78 EUR/kg) and the highest in France (13,36 EUR/kg). Since 2015, the highest average first-sales prices of European flounder were in Estonia (0,69 EUR/kg), followed by Lithuania and Latvia.

First-sale focus:
Common sole (Belgium, France, Italy)
European flounder (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)

In December 2017, the consumption of fresh fisheries and aquaculture products increased over December 2016 in both volume and value in Germany (+7% and +10%, respectively) and Sweden (+9% and +4%). In Italy and Portugal, value increased 1% and 2%, respectively, and volume decreased 1% and 4%. In France, value decreased by 3% and volume remained unchanged. The rest of the Member States analysed saw consumption decreases in both volume and value. The largest drop in both volume and value occurred in Denmark (-21%). Compared with November 2017, among the Member States surveyed, Hungary and Poland registered the greatest increase in value and highest percentage above the yearly average, due to the increase in consumption of fisheries products during Christmas, traditional for those two countries.

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Fueling the fishery
Average prices for marine fuel in March 2018 ranged between 0,42 and 0,45 EUR/litre, in ports in France, Italy, Spain and the UK. This was 1% higher than the previous month, but when compared with March 2017, the increase was much larger – 19% higher in Spain and 11% higher in the UK.

Download the EUMOFA Monthly Highlights N° 3 – 2018

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