Brussels lays out 2010 guide prices


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
November 29, 2009

The European Commission last week proposed to reduce 2010 guide prices for numerous whitefish and crustacean species, as the global economic downturn continues to bite into seafood demand.

“The current economic crisis is strongly affecting consumer demand for [seafood] products in the EU,” said the EC. “The decrease in demand has resulted in dramatic drops in first-sale prices in the first half of 2009, in particular for whitefish and crustacean species.”

Each year, the EC sets guide prices for seafood products based on member states’ average market prices over the previous three years. The guide prices are used to determine price support mechanisms inked into EC legislation.
For 2010, the EC laid out lower prices for fresh whitefish and crustacean species in general but slightly higher prices for pelagic species and frozen seafood products.

Sardines, for example, rose by 1 percent to EUR 574 (USD 862) a ton, while whole albacore inched up 2 percent to EUR 2,241 (USD 3,366) a ton. Frozen prawns (Parapenaeus) will see a guide price of EUR 4,072 (USD 6,117) a ton in 2010, compared to EUR 4,032 (USD 6,057) in 2009.

But the decreases were widespread. Prices of herring, mackerel, Spanish mackerel and anchovies all fell between 1 percent and 4 percent. For example, the EC is pitching herring at EUR 275 (USD 413) a ton, down 2 percent from this year.

Prices of frozen Greenland halibut, sea bream, cuttlefish, octopus and squids were also dropped. The price of Greenland halibut, for example, slipped 3 percent to EUR 1,896 (USD 2,848) a ton for next year.

As for yellowfin tuna, the EC proposed to drop the producer price by 4 percent to EUR 1,224 (USD 1,839) a ton “in light of the recent deterioration of the market for this product.”

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