Fish market update - Autumn

9 September, 2022

Autumn is a great time for the majority of popular fish species as the cooler waters see mussels and native oysters coming back into season, and our favourite white fish enter their prime season where yields and quality improve. Flat fish should all be in prime condition as spawning seasons have finished. Additionally, the new Icelandic fish quotas started on 1st September improving availability.

However, there continue to be strong demand and global shortages of white fish in particular.

Prices on all core species have raised to varying levels; this has been caused by a multitude of issues including shortages of farmed fish biomass due to uncertainty during the pandemic, lack of processed products due to reduced operating capacity in factories around the world due to the pandemic, increases in the cost of fish feed, increases in the cost of fishing bait, increases in labour costs, increases in fuel costs and therefore transport, and an increase in global demand following the pandemic.

Frozen white fish has been particularly difficult due to the war in Ukraine as Russia is a major contributor to worldwide stocks.

Below we have outlined the market changes by species:

Sea Bass and Gilthead Bream: Prices have increased due to fish feed pricing. Some stabilisation of pricing is expected from September. Both species are a recommendation when it comes to consistent availability.

Salmon: Pricing remains high, with predictions for high prices to last through the remaining part of 2022 heading into 2023. The worst of this will be in December as we head into the festive season.

Trout: This species is a great alternative for salmon however UK-farmed trout has also seen price pressure due to increased demand, higher feed and transport costs.

Halibut: It has been a hard three months for halibut - the lack of biomass due to increased demand saw farms close down. The recommendation would be to use occasionally while farmers get volumes back to a sustainable level. Availability should improve as we head into the winter months.

Other Farmed Species: Farmed turbot prices are stable, with good availability. Meagre is becoming more popular and is cost effective.

Shellfish: Mussels will be back in season from September, but with the warm weather we’ve been experiencing it may take a little longer for mussels to be in the best condition. Lobster pricing eased over the summer, but still remains high. Native scallops pricing will rise as we head into winter.

Smoked Fish: The autumn should see more stability before winter hits with further potential increases. Hot smoked trout has stable pricing and is consistent. Haddock is reaching prime condition as we go into autumn, smoked haddock pricing should reduce.

Deli: Pricing is due to increase for prawns in brine and crayfish in brine, with challenges on availability on raw material combined with transport and fuel costs. Crayfish in brine is increasing by circa 12% and prawns in brine by 5% - more increases are expected by the end of the year. Fish roes, marinated anchovies, seafood salad and marinated herrings have stabilised, offering stable options through the autumn.

Frozen Fish and Seafood: This market is challenging, with further price increases in November. If cod increases in price then haddock will follow. Core fish fingers lines have increased due to the Russian conflict. Frozen scallops are in short supply, with prices rising substantially. Frozen squid tube prices are high due to lower catches and slow production.

Source: Direct Seafoods.

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