Russian companies increase sturgeon production
Friday,30 March,2012 07:55:38
During 2011 fisheries of Sverdlovsk region increased volumes of fish by almost 10 percent, and bred over 100 tons of trout and various species of sturgeon, including:
- 66 metric tons of trout
- 20 metric tons of sturgeon
- 17 metric tons of starlet
While volume of fish caught in natural waters was 505 tons, the fisheries produced 497 tons of these valuable species, and in 2012 their results will certainly be even better.
Along with volumes, a range of species is also growing, and by now 18 Sverdlovsk fisheries can offer more than 20 species of sturgeon, trout and similar kinds of fish.
One of the most ambitious plans of Ural fish breeders is an increase of the sturgeon volumes by 20 percent annually in order to maintain commercial production of the most famous Russian product, black caviar. Should these plans realize (I sincerely hope so), we’ll probably be able to offer a nice new line of products soon.
Scientists give fishing forecast
Friday,30 March,2012 08:01:20
During the latest meeting of the PFRC (Pacific Fisheries Research Center) participants discussed a forecast for allowable catches during the second quarter of 2012.
As a result, Far Eastern fishing companies are allowed to catch over 628,000 metric tons of aquatic biological resources. The biggest share of the catch (280,000 metric tons) was traditionally accounted for Alaska pollock.
As for other kinds of seafood, figures are as following:
- 41,600 metric tons of Pacific herring
- 40,600 metric tons of flatfish
- 12,200 metric tons of salmon
- 29,700 metric tons of greenling
- 28,100 metric tons of cod
It was also noted that the upcoming period most likely will bring an increase in the number of fishing areas and development of facilities, as well as a beginning of industrial coastal fishing during the 2012 salmon fishing season.
During the first two months of this year the Russian fishing companies have caught 458,300 metric tons of aquatic biological resources. The main part of the total catch was Alaska pollock – 353,900 metric tons. It is 90,000 metric tons less than in the same period of 2011. Perhaps, to compensate that, catches of Pacific herring in the North Okhotsk subarea excel past results by 16,300 metric tons.
Anyone solved Alaska Pollock riddle yet?
What to expect from Alaska pollock?
Wednesday,21 March,2012 10:39:45
Despite many experts’ opinion that the riddle of Alaska pollock price spread will be resolved during the recent seafood show in Boston, it was not. Participants of the show could see increase of H&G prices from Russia while US producers offered their fillet at lower prices.
At the moment Alaska pollock from U.S. companies is cheaper for European buyers than ever before. According to some sources I communicated with, some US companies offer prices of around USD 3,150 (EUR 2,408), and even as low as USD 3,100 (EUR 2,370) per metric ton. But most buyers don’t hurry to accept even these offers, what can be accounted for their hopes for even lower prices.
On the other side, Russian fishing companies increased prices for headed-and-gutted (H&G) Alaska pollock, and now sell it at a rate of more than USD 1,400 (EUR 1,070) per metric ton. And, despite constantly growing labor costs and just as constantly diminishing European market, Chinese plants (main consumers of pollock from Russia), still buy it. I assume that the demand is based on a simple theory: Chinese processors have no other choice but stopping their plants if they decline to buy Russia originated fish.
According to a source from China, similarly to the stock market, “buying” itself makes a “bubble” even when catches are good, and this process can keep on till processors are no longer able to hold the production cost on an acceptable level.
Some sources also called actual factors that contradict the fact that the pollock becomes more expensive. “Firstly, the single-frozen block price is going down. Secondly, not many Chinese plants buy the new season's fish, and sales of twice-frozen products are very low. Thirdly, catching is good in Russia,” they say.
Even though the Chinese are trying to sell their double frozen blocks, the source from China said the demand for their production is low and it is very unlikely the Chinese plants will be able to get higher prices.
Lars Nielsen, production director with Royal Greenland, one of Europe’s largest block buyers, has a different view on the situation, but he agrees that the pricing picture “doesn’t fit,” according to one trade publication.
He believes that it’s Chinese producers who drive H&G prices in order to secure raw material for their workers. However, he is also confident that they buy small batches, and prices in the market are formed on a base of small real sale and inventory in China. Lars Nielsen said that H&G are driven by empty factory demand, and MSC by market demand.
One way or another, my opinion is as follows: I thought Boston would be the deal breaker for Alaska pollock block orders, but it turned out to be a social event.
Let’s see what happens in Brussels.
Impressions, observations in Boston
Monday,19 March,2012 08:06:49
The International Boston Seafood Show greeted show visitors with sunny and crusty-cold weather. It’s a great city with rich history, and I actually managed to escape to the Harvard campus that was just about a 10-minute drive from the convention center.
Down to things that you are actually expecting to hear:
Talking with some representatives of Chinese fish processing and exporting companies, I could not help but notice their frustration about quite sluggish activity of their customers from Europe. Businessmen from China told me that recently demand for the Chinese production has steadily decreased, so at the show my past feelings about it were confirmed.
Along with that, many U.S. suppliers of Alaska pollock are becoming more active, or even aggressive in the European seafood markets, and these two trends are clearly interconnected.
Essentially, I’d express the most general feature of the show this year in four words: “more talks, less deals.” It was very interesting and educational to hear reports and discuss various aspects of the current situation and future trends, but it would be far more profitable to meet serious buyers and partners there.
Side-note: Great organization and impressive list of participants once again proved this show to be a must-attend event for professionals now and in the future.
Alaska pollock, Pacific herring exporters turn to Russia
Monday,19 March,2012 08:07:25
First, some statistics: Currently, 145 vessels are deployed in the Alaska pollock and Pacific herring fishery in Russia. Daily catch per vessel in North Okhotsk subarea is around 60 metric tons of herring and 200 metric tons of pollock.
Since the beginning of 2012 Russian fisheries produced 370,900 metric tons of pollock and 77 thousand metric tons of herring. Due to favorable meteorological conditions in the past few weeks fisheries were able to make up for the temporary decrease of Alaska pollock production compared to 2011. However, by now catches of herring even exceed past results by about 25 thousand metric tons. In general, total volumes surpass last year’s results.
Most importantly, more than 150,000 metric tons of seafood went to the domestic Russian market, while exports comprised about 160,000 metric tons.
Clear trend: An increase in the proportion of Pacific herring and Alaska pollock delivered to the inner market compared to the last year. By the look of things, this trend will keep in at least mid-term perspective.
Markets for Russian seafood becoming more diverse
Monday,5 March,2012 12:53:49
The Russian fishing industry is growing – last year Russian fisheries produced more frozen Alaska pollock both for exports and domestic consumption than a year before.
Compared to the 2010, volumes of unprocessed Alaska pollock production decreased, while exports of frozen fillets in blocks have grown from 25 thousand metric tons (about USD 67 million) to 33 thousand metric tons (about USD 87 million).
In one of previous posts I’ve noted that in 2011 China and South Korea were main importers of frozen pollock from Russia.
However, I must say that over the past few years situation with Alaska pollock imports has changed. In 2008 the Alaska pollock market depended on a single buyer since more than two-thirds of imports went to China. But now I see this monopoly diminishing, and Russian fisheries increase supplies to different foreign markets and at once increase sales in Russia itself. I can confirm this trend with my own experience.
As for Pacific herring, in 2011 volumes of its exports reached USD 111 million, which is 55 percent more compared to 2010.
Unfortunately, due to higher transportation costs the Pacific herring is becoming less competitive against imported Atlantic herring.
My forecast is following: after reduction of import duties on herring (these are the conditions for entry into the WTO) competition on the herring market will become even tighter.
Russia to explore fish breeding initiatives
Monday,5 March,2012 09:19:59
According to the recent interview of First Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Victor Zubkov, fish breeding is one of the major concerns in Russian fishing industry.
Potential of this business is tremendous, but still very poorly implemented. For example, share of fish breeding in Russian fish production is below 3 percent, while in other countries this figure reaches 40 percent and even more than 60 percent in China.
But I’m glad to state that some clever decisions have been recently made.
One of them is a draft of the Federal Law “On Fish Breeding.” Among other things, this document should alleviate access to water and biological resources for Russian fish breeding companies.
Secondly, a draft of the State Program of fisheries development which includes more effective forms and mechanisms to regulate and stimulate fish breeding activity. In particular, the program provides partial state funding for interest on loans taken for breeding, production, purchase of feed, fish breeding stock and other materials, introducing energy-saving technologies, insurance payments, etc. Also, the state program provides for the use of leasing arrangements for purchase of machinery and equipment.
I highly support these initiatives and am very curious about the results of its implementation.