Production fish continue to warp prices: ‘We have a huge problem. The situation is completely twisted’

Aslak Berge

Navigating the way through a sea of “production fish”.

“There won’t be much high-quality fish available next week, as there is an abundance of ‘prodfisk’—low-quality fish. It’s complicated because while we have plenty of production fish, we can’t get rid of them. We have no choice but to freeze it,” explained one buyer to SalmonBusiness.

“Prodfisk”, or production fish, refers to low-quality fish with wounds and injuries, which must be fixed before export.

Norwegian State Secretary Kristina Hansen (Ap) hasn’t promised any political support against the illegal export of “production fish”, he noted.

“You have to grant a dispensation for a period of time. We have a huge problem. The situation now is completely twisted,” he said.

He believes there’s now a two-tier market – split between “production fish” and superior quality. And there are high prices for the limited superior fish available in the market.

“Next week, it’s expensive. For 3-4 kg, NOK 110 ($10.23/€9.46), 4-5 kg NOK 115 ($10.70/€9.91), 5-6 kg NOK 120 ($11.16/€10.32), and 6+ kg NOK 130 ($12.09/€11.17). If you buy at an average of NOK 115 for 3-6 kg – and then you buy ‘prodfisk’ for NOK 40 ($3.72/€3.39). There’s a NOK 70 difference between ‘sup’ and ‘prod’. It’s unbelievable. That the government isn’t taking action,” he said.

“Five kroner between the sizes sounds high. The industry probably won’t accept that,” said another exporter.

“We’ve traded at NOK 110 ($10.23/€9.46), 114 ($10.60/€9.81), and 117 ($10.87/€10.06) (for 3-6 kilos),” said a third exporter. “It was very busy earlier today, but has cooled down. But with three production days… it’ll be a different market then.”

He doesn’t foresee insurmountable issues for the “production fish”.

“It’s a matter of price. It ranges from NOK 55 ($5.11/€4.73) to NOK 65 ($6.04/€5.58) – depending on who you talk to and how much ‘production fish’ they have. There’s a lot, but many people are still hesitant.”

“I’ve bought, and then resold, some consignments for: 3-4 kg NOK 115 ($10.70/€9.91), 4-5kg NOK 120 ($11.16/€10.32), and 5-6kg NOK 122 ($11.35/€10.52),” said a trader. “I’m waiting. We won’t buy before selling.”

SalmonBusiness gathers spot prices for salmon every Friday after lunch, tracking fish to be delivered the following week. This process involves contacting multiple entities in the value chain, including farmers, exporters, and importers. At least five independent sources are consulted, though they may not always be publicly disclosed.


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