Germany’s largest importer of Scottish salmon forced to buy Norwegian to meet demand

Matthew Wilcox

“The weather has been bad and I think the first half of this year will go on like this. We wish we could buy more.”

Handling more than 300 tonnes of salmon a month, Scottish Import, based outside of Mainz in west Germany, is the largest importer of Scottish salmon in the country.

Sales & Purchasing Manager David Rosenow explained why Germany’s largest importer of Scottish salmon is struggling to get enough salmon, “At the moment to buy Scottish salmon is difficult,” says Rosenow, “There aren’t huge volumes available. So our main business in the moment is definitely Norwegian.”

“We are still the largest importer in Germany for whole Scottish salmon. But there’s just poor availability right now. The weather has been bad and I think the first half of this year will go on like this. We wish we could buy more.”

Is this a lingering consequence of Brexit?

“Maybe [there were issues] the first six weeks after it happened, but now all the paperwork is done by the producers themselves, as well as by the transporters. So we’re just buying the fish.”

“The Scottish prices are don’t seem to have increased after Brexit. They are still on the usual market level: For example, Norwegian salmon might be at €7/kg, and Scottish will be at €8/kg. So that’s the usual price difference, which is more or less the same.”

Aside from any marketing angle, Scottish salmon usually gets a premium as the high volume Norwegian sets the global price. The premium is linked to the cost of transport + export fee and duty the fish from Norway to the UK.

As Rosenow, says, availability is the key. “Scottish salmon has been extremely expensive. I don’t think it’s all about Brexit. Last year in general, the availability has just not been that good.”

This lack of supply is reflected in prices across the board, says Rosenow: “The Norwegian stuff is also much more expensive in the moment. Yeah. I bought a truck load this week for for around €8.50 a kilo (including tax and transport). Last week, we were at around €7.50-760. Maybe this week, it is €8.50. And I heard prices around €9.00 or €9.10 for next week.”

Is that just there’s not not very many fish around?

“It seems to be so. I’m talking to some suppliers, they’ve all got problems getting the fish together in time. And I also got an email this morning from someone at Mowi in Norway, saying they will have issues getting quantities together until June. Its will be interesting first half of the year.”