Fish oil freefall
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
02 March, 2009 -
To label the 2008 global fish oil market as calm would be the understatement of the year. Fish oil output dropped worldwide, and prices reached unprecedented highs. But by late last year, prices were in a freefall.
Through the first three-quarters of 2008, global fish oil production was down nearly 30 percent, to just under 400,000 metric tons, from 2007, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Peruvian landings of anchovy and other small pelagic fish totaled 6.17 million metric tons last year, up from 6.07 million metric tons in 2007. However, the country’s fish oil production amounted to 270,000 metric tons, down from 305,000 metric tons. U.S. fish oil exports exceeded 56,000 metric tons in 2008, up from 55,000 metric tons in 2007.
Prices of Peruvian fish oil topped out at USD 1,800 a ton in mid-2008. Once the global economic crisis took hold and fish oil demand softened, prices came back down to earth, hitting USD 800 a ton by January, in line with pre-2008 prices. They’re expected to continue sliding this year.
In the second half of 2008, salmon farmers in northern Europe shifted toward rapeseed oil, prices of which began to fall earlier than fish oil prices. That’s also contributing to weaker fish oil demand worldwide, reports the FAO.
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