Cephalopods - April 2015
2015-04-23 14:24:36   copyfrom:GLOBEFISH    hits:

Good demand and high octopus prices in Japan.

In spite of high prices, demand for octopus in Japan is good. Supplies have been tight, and during the first nine months of 2014, Japan imported 36.6% less octopus than in 2013. The squid and cuttlefish markets are still slow.
In October, Spain and Morocco finally reached an agreement on fishing in each other’s waters. In a spirit of “friendship and cooperation between the two countries”, Moroccan fishermen may fish four days a week in the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Spanish fleet can fish there for the remaining three days. However, the peace and quiet and friendly atmosphere did not last long. After just a few days there were reports of conflicts, sabotage and threats. Both governments are intent on maintaining the peace though and have set up a monitoring committee composed of fishermen from both countries to deal with the problems that may arise.
In September 2014, cephalopods exports to the USA from Viet Nam shot up by over 307% in one month. By the end of September, the cumulative cephalopods exports from Viet Nam to the USA had increased by 30.3% to USD 2.5 million. While the US market does not account for a large share of Vietnamese cephalopods exports, the Vietnamese regard this market as one that has potential for the future.
In Morocco, the octopus fishery opened on 21 November 2014 with a 33% increase in the quota. This was three weeks later than last year, and the late start affected shipments to Japan, the most important market. Shipments were not in time for the year-end seasonal sales, and thus some of these shipments had to go into storage.
Japanese imports of octopus fell dramatically during the first nine months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. Total imports declined by 36.6%, to just 27 200 tonnes. The decline in shipments mostly affected the two largest suppliers, Morocco and Mauritania, which experienced reductions of 37.5% and 56.5%, respectively. Imports from China went up by 19.1% to 5 600 tonnes during this period.
Strong and growing demand for octopus on the Japanese market pushed prices up by 40% for raw material for processing in 2014. The reason for the price increase was also attributed to production cuts in West Africa. Thus, supplies for the important year-end season were low, and this helped push prices further up.
In total, the sales volume on the Japanese market declined in 2014, mainly because of short supplies. Towards the end of the year, demand picked up in spite of the high prices.
Octopus imports into Italy, on the contrary, increased slightly by 5.9% during the first three quarters of the year. Total imports during this period amounted to 32 100 tonnes, thus surpassing Japan as an importer once again. The main supplier, Morocco, shipped considerably less; shipments from Morocco to Italy declined by 31.4%. Indonesia almost doubled its exports to Italy, to 3 000 tonnes, and Viet Nam shipped 61.5% more during this period.
There was a slight decline in Spanish imports of octopus during the first three quarters of the year, as total imports fell by 6.6% to 29 700 tonnes. All the main suppliers experienced a decline in shipments to Spain and thus accounted for the bulk of the decline. 
Peru is trying to consolidate the artisanal fishery for jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) by introducing new legislation. As the jumbo flying squid fishery is considered to be the second most important fishery in the country, the Government wants to bring the small-scale sector into it. During the first nine months of 2014, a total of 334 650 tonnes was landed for freezing, while the total landings of  this species amounted to no less than 531 614 tonnes during this period. Partly as a result of this, the Government is now also encouraging jumbo squid consumption in the country.
The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) registered a record catch of squid during 2014, with some very impressive daily landings, including on one day in April when the catch amounted to no less than 6 701 tonnes. The total Illex landings for the season that ended on 15 June amounted to a record 306 000 tonnes.
Landings were weaker towards the end of the season in Argentina, though. In the South Atlantic, the fleet nearly filled its 150 000 tonne quota, as 147 439 tonnes were landed. In the adjacent Argentine Sea, more than 235 000 tonnes were caught, and around the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), the total catch amounted to about 288 000 tonnes.
International trade in squid showed a weakening trend in terms of traded volumes on the main importing markets during the first nine months of 2014. Japan imported 10.3% less, Italy 5% less, Spain 2.4% less and the USA 4% less.
Chinese shipments to Japan were down by 9.4% to 26 000 tonnes. Peru also shipped less to Japan, while there was a burst in Argentine shipments by 140% to 6 000 tonnes. This can be attributed to increased landings in Argentina in 2014.
In contrast, Argentina is absent from the list of main suppliers to Italy. The main suppliers to Italy are Spain, Thailand and China. Total Italian imports of squid during the first nine months of 2014 declined just marginally, by 2 800 tonnes or -5%, and the bulk of this reduction was accounted for by Spain (-14%) and India (-18%), while Thailand shipped 17% more squid to Italy during the 2014 period.
Spanish imports of squid during the first three quarters were marginally lower than in 2013: from 67 600 tonnes to 66 000 tonnes (-2.4%). Among the suppliers, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)  strengthened its position as shipments increased as a result of good catches, up 1 500 tonnes  or 6.3%. In fact, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) accounted for 38.6% of all Spanish squid imports during this period. Shipments from China and Morocco went down a bit, while imports from Peru dropped by almost 50%.
The USA, which has been very active as an importer of squid in recent years, saw a slight reduction in imports during the first three quarters of 2014, from 52 1000 tonnes in 2013 to 50 000 tonnes in 2014. The main supplier by far is still China, which accounted for 56.6% of total imports. There were very slight changes in the positions of the main suppliers to the USA. India and Thailand shipped less squid to the USA than the year before, while Taiwan Province of China shipped 30.4% more than last year. 
Viet Nam reported soaring shipments of cephalopods to the USA. In September, shipments showed a 308% increase over the same period in 2013, following another record increase of over 1 200% in shipments from Viet Nam to the USA in July. Currently, the USA is the 7th largest market for Vietnamese cephalopods. During the first nine months of 2014, Vietnamese cephalopod exports to the USA grew by over 30% in value.
The EU, on the contrary, registered a 2.6% decline in imports of cephalopods during the first half of 2014. There were some shifts among the relative positions of suppliers, as India and Thailand exported more to the EU than in the same period in 2013.
Cuttlefish supplies were tight during the first nine months of the year, and the traded volume went down everywhere. Imports into Japan fell by 15%, and all the major suppliers (Thailand, Morocco, and Viet Nam) suffered. On the Italian market, there was a similar reduction in imports (-15.5%). The major suppliers to Italy were Spain, Tunisia and France.
Spanish cuttlefish imports declined more than Japan and Italy, as imports fell by 23.2%. Suppliers to the Spanish market were first of all neighbouring Morocco, accounting for almost 60% of all imports, followed by Mauritania (9.6% of the total) and France (7.7% of the total).
Surprisingly, squid prices took a dip towards the end of the year. This may have been because supplies from the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) were good, and because South African supplies also picked up. Octopus prices in Japan are high, and will probably remain so for the time being.
Demand for octopus seems to be picking up in the main market (Japan), but it will probably remain calm in European markets throughout the winter. Supplies are good at the moment, so there might be some pressure on prices after a while. The squid market is calmer, and was suffering from tighter supplies earlier, but this seems to have eased a bit as landings in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) were very good. Squid prices have dropped, but should pick up again soon. 

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