Supply shortage of trout means fish now fetches €7 a kilo in Asia

Aslak Berge

Demand is higher than supply.

“There are higher prices for trout than salmon now,” said an Eastern European trader to SalmonBusiness.

He has no doubt what that is down to.

“There’s little of it. There is almost no one who has trout these days,” he said.

The trader sourced trout from the Turkish Black Sea coast, which is of the same quality as Norwegian farmed trout.

Big in Japan
Demand and pay are particularly high in Asia.

Markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates all paid well over EUR 7 a kilo (delivered from the Norwegian border .ed) last week. A traditionally large trout market like Japan paid EUR 6.9 for a kilo of fresh air-freighted Norwegian-produced trout (head-on) that week.

The amount of export volume is low. 574 tonnes of trout were exported from Norway in week nine, according to export statistics from Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Seafood Council. In comparison, the export volume was 972 tonnes in the same week of 2020.

Slim biomass
The current biomass of trout is also low. According to Akvafakta, the Norwegian biomass was only 37,000 tonnes at the end of January/February. This was 14 per-cent lower than it was a year earlier. Compared to Norway’s swimming stock of salmon, the trout biomass was only 1/20 that of salmon biomass.

A major reason for the shortage is that large parts of the country’s trout production takes place in the Production Area 4 area, Western Norway, which in August had its biomass reduced by six per-cent due to traffic light regulation. This has resulted in less fish to sell, but thus at higher prices than before.

Prefect storm
One of the companies that is heavily involved in the trout market is Firda Seafood. The company harvested its last salmon last summer and has since been a pure trout farmer.

“In January, Russia, the main trout market, was closed. Not long after, COVID-19 arrived, making the transport to the second-largest trout market, the United States, far more difficult. On top of this comes the reduction with the traffic light scheme,” Ola Braanaas told the newspaper Bergens Tidende in August last year.

Firda owner Ola Braanaas described the problems in the trout market as “a perfect storm.”

Now, if nothing else, the sale price and profit for the fish has picked up radically.


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