Aquaculture Magazine

April / May 2016


Currently the farmed salmon complex ranges depending on the market. February thus far has seen the Northeast wholefish market been steady while the West Coast wholefish market has been firm on smaller fish and weaker on larger fish. The Chilean fillet market has been steady to full steady.

By: Paul B. Brown Jr.*

The salmon market finishes the 2015 year 13.81 percent higher YTD. Total month-to-month data reveals an increase of 6.06 percent when compared to November. Fresh Atlantic wholefish imports are up 36.26 percent and fresh fillets are up 9.64 percent YTD. And when comparing the current imports to December of 2014, we see a 17.28 percent increase.

Fresh Atlantic Wholefish

YTD wholefish imports ended the year with large increases; up 36.3 percent. Canada and to a smaller extent Norway are the drivers with 67.2 and 87.4 percent increases respectively. The month-to-month data also reveals an increase when comparing December 2015 to November 2015 of 8.4 percent. Additionally, when comparing to December 2014, imports saw a 18.3 percent increase. 2015 has surpassed all previous years and 2015 imports are at the highest volume to date of wholefish.

December imports into the Northeast continue to see large jumps compared to 2014. Currently the market in the Northeast is steady. With the beginning of Lent and Valentine’s Day, market participants report that activity was slower than anticipated, but market is currently steady at listed levels. Supplies are adequate for a moderate to fair demand. Imports into the Northeast are under but close to 2013 as seen in the bar graph above. All sizes listed for Northeast wholefish are trending below their three-year averages.

Imports of European wholefish during December were higher than last year at the same time. The European wholefish market, in general, is somewhat unsettled with both higher and lower offerings noted for the middle of February. 6-7s are currently below the three-year averages.

Imports from Canada on the West Coast (WC) increased during December. Imports on the WC are at the highest volume to date. Currently the market in the West is full steady to firm on 4-6 through 12-14 pound fish. 14-ups are barely steady to weak. Overall demand is moderate to fair. All sizes listed are trending below their three-year averages.

Fresh Atlantic Fillets

December 2015 imports of fresh fillets reached 288 million pounds which is the highest YTD volume on record. Month-to-month data shows a slight increase when compared to November 2015 of 0.1 percent. When comparing imports to last year at the same time, there is a 15.3 percent increase. Chile is the driver of these increases and 214 million pounds have been imported thus far for the year which is up 5.2 percent YTD. Norway continues to see double digit increases YTD; up 55.5 percent with 36.6 million pounds imported for 2015.

Fillet imports from Chile and Europe total 288.2 million pounds, the highest total seen in the past four years. Currently the Chilean fillet market is steady to full steady as of mid-February. Supplies of fillets out of Chile range adequate for a moderate demand. Some still higher offerings have been collected as well.

All sizes for Chilean fillets are trending well below the three year average.

Frozen Fillets

Imports of frozen fillets are down 13.5 percent YTD. However, when compared to November 2014 levels, imports are up 11.7 percent. Shipments from Chile are up 3.4 percent YTD while imports from Norway are down 2.7 percent. YTD.

Month to month data does show an increase when compared to November 2015 of 12.0 percent.

Currently the market is barely steady to weaker on frozen portions while frozen fillets are full steady to firming.

Imports of frozen fillet (non-Atlantic) decreased 0.2 percent YTD. In contrast, when compared to the same time a year ago, December 2015 is 1.6 percent higher than December 2014. Shipments from China, the main supplier of this commodity —chum— increased by 5.6 percent YTD and totaling 70.2 million pounds.


Retail data for the month of February shows the average price for Atlantic salmon fillets adjusted lower when comparing to February of 2015. 2015’s average was $8.22 where 2016’s average was $6.94, a $1.28 difference. Moreover, when comparing February 2016 to January 2016, there was a $0.13 decrease from an average of $7.07 to an average of $6.94.

The bottom chart shows the % change in pricing of the wholesale market vs. retail ad pricing since 2012. The graph shows a clear correlation between these two.

*President of Urner Barry

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