FAO: Rising energy costs hit seafood

As rising food prices continue to garner headlines across the world, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) underlined in its monthly European price report that energy costs are expected to remain high, adversely affecting the global seafood industry.

“Rising prices for a number of farmed species seem to confirm this trend, with the cause generally found on the supply side, resulting from various production constraints,” said the agency.

However, the FAO warned that the picture is “mixed.”

Prices of Norwegian-raised Atlantic salmon, for example, have been historically high for months due to production constraints. According to the FAO, while Norway’s salmon exports in January 2011 — which totaled 66,100 metric tons (round weight equivalents) — were unchanged from January 2010, the value rose a hefty 32.5 percent from 2009 to NOK 2.4 billion (EUR 300 million). But prices appear to be easing. In February, the FAO posted an average price for Norwegian salmon of EUR 4.50 a kilogram, down significantly from EUR 5.60 a kilogram in January.

In terms of wild-caught seafood, fishing quotas are defined as the major cause of supply swings, with supply “definitely” more varied than demand.

However, “many wild fisheries are also suffering from higher energy costs for the fishing fleet,” suggested the FAO.

The recent unrest in the Middle East has driven up oil prices significantly. On Monday, oil prices fell to about USD 97 a barrel after exceeding USD 100 a barrel last week.


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