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Seabass & Seabrean
Unexpected bass and bream volumes halt price rise [November 2016]
After a year of slowing production growth and firming prices, an improved outlook has led to some much needed investor confidence in the farmed seabass and seabream sector. However, caution still prevails in 2016. Although prices for both species have remained relatively high in the first quarter, surplus volumes from Spain and Turkey have slowed this upward trend.

In Greece, a fragile bass and bream aquaculture sector has been buoyed by the upturn in prices resulting from a cut back in harvest volumes. As a result, the major farming companies have seen a steady improvement in financial results continuing into 2016. Not all companies have pulled themselves out of the red yet, however, and in their case improvement means a reduction in heavy losses rather than an overall return to profitability.

Considering that progress on cost reduction in Greece is lagging well behind that of other aquaculture industries, a recent paper from the University of Stavanger outlines that it is important for the sector that the price level is maintained at current or high levels.
Though Greek production volumes are marginally down, Spanish producers and Turkish exporters have together increased the total bass and bream supply in the EU market this year. This increase could potentially exert downward pressure on prices, particularly if the market uncertainty that has followed the UK's referendum vote worsens.

In the longer term, with the future stability of the Greek sector still far from guaranteed, it is likely that further consolidation with be necessary to reap the much needed benefits of economies of scale and ensure the continued competitiveness and profitability of the industry.
In the first quarter of 2016, Greece exported 2.3% less combined volume of bass and bream compared with the same period in 2015, comprised of a 5% drop in fresh bream exports and a 1.3% increase in fresh bass exports.

These figures broadly reflect flat production growth at farms for the latter species and an estimated 10% increase for the former. Average prices for both species rose marginally in the first quarter, building on 2015 gains, but dropped below 2015 levels in major markets by June.
In Italy, prices for bream were some 10% down compared with June 2015, while prices for bass were around 14% lower. Exports to Italy, traditionally accounting for around half of all Greece's bass and bream exports, fell by 8% in volume terms while the Netherlands was notable in the first quarter for boosting imports of Greek bass and bream by 76%.

Seabass and seabream: Continuing high prices expected as supply set to tighten further in 2016 [May 2016]
After a year of lower harvests, firming prices and relived pressure on producer margins, 2016 has started off well with a sharp upturn in seabass and seabream prices on European markets. Further reductions in supply from the major sources should see this situation continue, giving a further boost to the expanding Turkish industry and allowing Greek companies the opportunity to build on what are now more solid foundations.

Total supply of bream fell by approximately 6% in 2015, according to figures from a recent Kontali analyse report, with the expected impact of pushing prices strongly upwards. Multi-year highs were reached in the peak mid-summer season on the major Italian market, with 300-450 g sizes reaching EUR 5.80 per kg (CIF). Bass production, meanwhile, remained flat compared with the previous year, which kept prices for this species relatively lower. Forecasts are for a further 3% drop in production this year, with both Turkey and Greece seeing the results of reduced juvenile production over recent years.

With fewer fish to sell, Greek exporters reduced volumes to many major Mediterranean markets in 2015. Exports to Italy fell in particular, and Turkish exporters managed to further increase their share of this important market with cheaper product and more readily available volumes. Greek exports to Spain also fell significantly for the second year in a row as investment in the Spanish farmed bass and bream industry is boosting domestic production. In contrast to Turkey, Greece remains heavily dependent on the core EU markets, with Italy, France and Portugal taking more than three quarters of its total export volume.

That said, the increase in Greek export revenue despite the drop in volumes, points to an improvement in margins and hence business stability for an industry that has been struggling for some years now. After refinancing, restructuring and efforts to reduce costs, investor confidence in the sector appears to be recovering slowly as profitability returns. The newly consolidated and revitalized industry will now be looking to build steadily on the back of technological and product innovation, although there is still a distinct wait-and-see attitude amongst understandably cautious would be investors.

In Turkey, the rise in prices for bream in early 2016 was below expectations as domestic sales and exports for bream were lower than expected resulting in a surplus stock for 400-600 and 600-800 g fish. Slightly rising prices remained flat in March. In contrast, there was a price boost for bass and specifically large fish exceeded exceptions. According to industry sources, losses in stocks of bass due to diseases and accidents (poor sea conditions) in 2014 and 2015 will continue to boost the prices of bass in 2017.

According to some sources, the demand for Turkish juveniles in 2016 is expected to be around 400 million. The breakdown for production is likely to be 250 million bass and 150 million for bream.

A new development in the Turkish industry is a shift in hatcheries’ sales strategies, which will have an impact on supply of fish in the near-term. Previously, Turkish growers usually stocked their cages with juveniles of around 5 g, which are more resistant to disease and marine conditions. To mitigate the risk associated with growing fry to 5 g juvenile size, however, hatchery operators have begun encouraging their growers to start with smaller fish by lowering the price for 2 g juvenile. This also carries a risk though, as early stocking of cages with 2 g juveniles has increased the incidents of flexi bacteriosis outbreaks, resulting in an estimated 5% loss of stocks. Though slight, this 5% loss will have an impact on supply of marketable fish for 2017 and 2018.

Bass and bream: relative stability of 2015 can serve as platform for development [February 2016]
After a long period of low prices, high costs and near bankruptcy for many bass and bream companies, improved prices in 2015 have brought renewed confidence to the industry. With this stable period expected to continue, there is now a valuable opportunity to invest in much-needed technological innovation and product development.

The prevailing trends in the bass and bream market in 2015 have been lower supply and higher prices for bream, while for bass there has been generally flat supply with only marginal increases in prices in some markets. These price gains have been sufficient, however, to sharply reduce losses amongst the major Greek aquaculture companies and in some cases even push margins back into the black. Greek banks, now the major shareholders of these companies following recapitalization, are already actively seeking investors.

At the same time, many industry representatives are emphasizing the need for the industry to work together in consolidating the improved market situation through collective investment in research and development and cooperate in expanding the market base of their products. Data collection, improved feed management and formulas, broodstock selection and conditioning as well as animal health have all been identified as key focus areas at the farming level. On the market side, there have been calls to diversify the product range and to more closely align its characteristics with today's consumers' preferences for healthy, sustainable and convenient seafood.

Greek bass and bream export volumes in 2015, based on available statistics for the first nine months of the year, remained well below those of 2014, although this was almost entirely accounted for by a steep drop in bream supply with bass exports remaining flat. Exports of bream fell to almost all major markets, with the shortfall being particularly severe during the summer months, when prices in almost all major markets turned sharply upwards.

In Turkey, gonadal development (so-called-milting) in bass and bream beginning in October 2015 caused a cyclical seasonal negative impact on prices. During this time, fillet yield decreases, and as a result, fish sized 400-600 g and 600-800 g became destined for the fresh fish market instead of processing. Companies aim for intensive sales during this period to manage their cash flows and before milting occurs. Not surprisingly, prices (ex-farm/iced packed) of 200-300 g to 600-800 g bream were about USD 4.28 per kg regardless of size category throughout November and December 2015. Prices of bass also remained around USD 4.96 per kg during these same months. Due to the decrease in stocks following this sales period, prices are expected to rise and remain stable throughout January to mid-May for 400-600 g and 600-800 g bream. The same trend is also expected for bass.

According to industry sources, total hatchery production of bass and bream for Turkey in 2016 is expected to be about 400 million juveniles, approximately the same as initially planned for 2015. Due to some bio-technical problems, Turkish hatcheries struggled to meet the demand for bass juveniles in 2015, but will seemingly be able meet the demand in 2016.

Seabass and Seabream Market Report - June 2009 [June 2009]

Oversupply and lower prices

The large rise in supply of bream in 2008 from Greece and Turkey, the two major producing countries, had a significant downward effect on prices. On the other hand, bass prices held up well although the general weakening of demand is now causing lower prices for both species.
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Seabass and Seabream Market Report, September 2007 [September 2007]

Price trends
In Europe, by the end of the summer, prices of European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) are expected to start softening after the peak levels reached in June and July. This downward trend usually reaches its bottom in November before prices increase again for the Christmas season.In the Italian market, prices of common-sized (300-450 gr) seabass and seabream declined by 4.2 percent and 7.3 percent respectively between August and September
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Tuesday 30 May 2017
Top Info


Fish Info Network Directors meet at Conxemar, Vigo
In October each year the Spanish Association of Wholesalers, Importers, Manufacturers and Exporters of Fish products and Aquaculture (Conxemar) organizes the International Frozen Seafood Exhibition in Vigo, Spain.

Back to back with this event Conxemar jointly holds an international conference together with FAO. This year the conference was dedicated to cephalopods, a group of molluscs that includes squids, cuttlefishes, and octopus. The conference also provides the backdrop for various side events such as the Vigo dialogue on decent work in fisheries and aquaculture, and the meeting of the Fish Info Network (FIN).
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