Mackerel - May 2015
2015-06-01 11:04:31   copyfrom:GLOBEFISH    hits:

Increased mackerel supplies have forced prices down.

S\upplies
Spanish trawlers started the 2015 season in January on a pessimistic note, as their quota had been reduced by 26.3% compared with 2014. The bottom trawl quota thus amounted to only 8 470 tonnes, which is 28.3% of the total quota allocated to Spain for all fishing gears. The Spanish quota amounts to only 7.6% of the EU quota, which was set in an agreement between the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands earlier. Galician purse seiners were also dissatisfied with their 2015 mackerel quota, which was reduced by 25.5% to 2 626 tonnes.
These low quotas worry the Spanish mackerel sector, who blame the government for the low quota. In response, the government reminded the sector that it is the EU that has imposed the severe sanctions on Spain for exceeding the catch quota in 2009 and 2010. 10 000 tonnes of mackerel thus are deducted from the Spanish quota every year.
As consequence of Spanish dissatisfaction with the quotas, the EU and Spain met at the end of February 2015 to discuss a possible increase in the Spanish quotas. The EU conceded that these sanctions may be applied to species other than mackerel so that the impact on the Spanish mackerel fleet would be somewhat negated.
In contrast, Chilean fishermen were happy with their 2015 allocation of a horse mackerel quota of 297 000 tonnes in the South Pacific. This was an increase of 7 000 tonnes (+2.4%) compared with the 2014 quota. Other major fishing nations involved in this fishery are China, which received a quota of 29 200 tonnes, and the EU, with a quota of 28 100 tonnes.
The winter mackerel season in the North Atlantic produced ample supplies, which led to a softening of prices for some sizes. Larger sizes (400-600 g) were in good supply, while supplies of smaller sizes (200-400 g and 300-500 g) were tighter. Smaller sizes have been in greater demand in Africa, while the larger sizes have been shipped mainly to Japan.
During January and February 2015, Scottish vessels caught about 88 000 tonnes of mackerel, whereas Ireland caught roughly 39 200 tonnes. It is now expected that no more mackerel will be caught until September, and as cold storage holdings will be depleted in the months to come, prices could firm up.
Currency exchange rates have also played a major role in mackerel pricing lately. The US dollar has appreciated against the Norwegian krone, and this has resulted in lower prices quoted in US dollars, while the Norwegian exporters have received stable prices in Norwegian krone. The weak Norwegian krone may also have contributed to the drop in mackerel prices for shipments to Japan, which prefers the larger sizes.
Trade
Norway increased its frozen mackerel exports by a hefty 59.9% in 2014, to 387 900 tonnes. The main markets were China (81 100 tonnes, or 21% of total), Japan (72 600 tonnes or 18.7% of total) and Nigeria (52 300 tonnes or 13.5% of total). Other than Poland and the Russian Federation, there were strong increases in shipments to most major markets. In the German market, Norway was not a significant supplier, with only 2 200 tonnes shipped in 2014. The largest supplier to Germany was the Faroe Islands, which shipped 7 300 tonnes or 27.4% of total German mackerel imports. German mackerel imports increased marginally by 7.3% to 26 600 tonnes in 2014.
Prices
Prices for larger mackerel (>600 g) showed signs of recovery at the end of 2014, but then dropped dramatically again in February. Prices for smaller sizes (<600 g) have been more stable, although they were down during the last three quarters of 2014. Ample supplies of mackerel have put pressure on prices and will probably continue to do so for some time.

Outlook
Mackerel prices are expected to decline, in spite of the expectation that traded volumes will also decline. Kontali expects total small pelagic landings (excluding anchovies) to be reduced by as much as 100 000 tonnes in 2015.


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