Seafood sales getting a boost from pork price surge in China

China’s seafood markets are picking up sales this summer following a surge in prices for pork, the country’s favorite protein.

With retail prices for pork up 35 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2016, consumers have been turning to fish and crustaceans, according to traders at the central seafood wholesale market in Changsha, central China.

The market’s monthly bulletin details how crabs have been trading at an average CNY 73 (USD 10.92, EUR 9.87) per kilo, while prices were up 10 percent for scallops to CNY 62 (USD 9.27, EUR 8.38) per kg. Prices have also jumped 10 percent for farmed shrimp, which has moved to to CNY 53 (USD 7.92, EUR 7.16) per kg, and perch, which is now at CNY 45 (USD 6.72, EUR 6.08) per kg.

The supply of crab is ‘tight’ while lobsters are in strong demand, according to a trader operating at the market reached by phone.

In Weihai market – one of the bellwethers of pricing on the busy east coast – traders report a brisk trade for fish and strong supply of alternatives to local species covered by the fishing ban that prohibits fishing in China’s local waters throughout the summer. More farmed and frozen supply than has been found in the past is helping to ease the price surges during the months of the ban.

In addition to the fishing ban, prices have risen due to mortality problems caused by the long-distance trucking of stock from inland provinces and heavy rainfall in key production areas, which has impacted supply.

Frozen imports from south Asia and Latin America are substituting fresh supply of hairtail and croaker, while fish produced in local mariculture operations are also helping to ease the seasonal supply crunch, said the trader. Locally farmed flat fish sold in Weihai at CNY 80 (USD 11.96, EUR 10.81) per kg, while frozen small yellow croaker averaged CNY 25 (USD 3.74, EUR 3.38) per kg.

Changsha abalone prices remain strong at CNY 540 (USD 80.75, EUR 72.99) per kg, while turbot prices have slipped to CNY 36.50 (USD 5.45, EUR 4.93) per kg.
Demand for live fish remains strong but is largely being satisfied by locally farmed carp.


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