China smuggling case knock-on is lower price on larger fish

Aslak Berge

The market for larger, flown-out salmon has completely stopped up, as Chinese authorities roll-up a smuggling ring that moved salmon illegally through Vietnam and into China. After traditionally high Easter holiday prices last week, the salmon price was falling hard on Friday.

“We’ve come down somewhat. We have bought the 3-6 kilo (fish size) at 67 to 68 kroner (EUR 6.99 to 7.09) in northern Norway. The 6-plus was much significantly lower, down at 63 to 65 kroner (EUR 6.57 to 6.78),” an exporter says, before adding, “There’s a hell-of-a-lotta pressure on the big fish.”

How much can you connect that to what’s happening in China?

“You connect it a lot. There’s a complete stop on Vietnam. It’s only to customers there, and that’s not a lot”.

“I don’t have the impression that they (Chinese customs officers) want to get at Norway. But, they want to tidy up the circumventing of customs. It has nothing to do with Norway. We’re getting fish at this here price, but we’ll hold off buying a lot of fish at this (price) level.”

“The price picture at Easter, around 75 kroner (EUR 7.83), has corrected itself down to around 70 kroner (EUR 7.30) on the main (fish) sizes and even more on the largest (sizes). The noise out of Asia hasn’t improved the picture any.”

“Big fish are going at 64 to 65 kroner (EUR 6.68 to 6.78) for fish farmers. They can then steer that in towards alternative markets in the US and Europe,” a trader says, before referring to 67-70 kroner (EUR 6.99 to 7.31) for the main sizes of between three and six kilos.

“It seems there’s limited uptake. We had expected more, but we’re not getting that either,” he adds.

Unsold fish
“It’s going down five or six kroner (EUR 0.05). It’s gone down since Wednesday. We have offers at plus-or-minus 70 kroner on the 3-5 (size range). I don’t many deals have been made.”

“The prices we’re hearing are between 64 and 67 kroner (EUR 6.68 and 6.99). That’s the market price,” an exporter says.

Are you selling any at that price?

“I haven’t begun to buy yet. But, there’s a heap of unsold fish here. I doubt anyone will pay anything over 67 kroner to fish farmers today. That’s a big fall. It’s at about 67 kroner for the core sizes in the market. But, we have to remember that 65, 66 and 67 kroner is far too high a price for those doing the processing. It isn’t Easter anymore, with its few packing days.”


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