Mackerel in a box

Large Mackerel Volumes Left to be Fished Could Result in Weakening of Mackerel Prices

In addition, the Norwegian mackerel quota was decreased 7% from last year. 


For the past two years, Norwegian fishermen have not had free access to fish herring and mackerel in the British fishing zone. This has led to an earlier start of the season with a lot of small herring of lower quality. As there is no agreement between UK and Norway regarding access to the fishing zone this year either, the mackerel season has already started. In past years with access to UK zone the season started in September or later.


The Norwegian mackerel quota was finally set to 278 000 tons, a 7% decrease from last year. So far, the Norwegian fleet has fished around 12 000 tons of the quota. The price trend is good with average first sale price above last year the past weeks and average sales price for the first seven months of this year of NOK 14,60, a 27% increase from average sales price last year. We expect that mackerel landings will increase the coming weeks.


Around 305 000 tonnes are still left of the Norwegian NSS herring quota this year, which is around 10 000 tonnes higher than last year by this time. The price trend on herring is still good with average first sale price on NSS herring around 6,99 / kg during Jan-August this year, a 13% increase from last year. Average first sale price of North Sea herring increased 2% in the same period to NOK 6,38% /kg.


Exports of frozen mackerel products decreased 28% in Jan-Jun to 84 000 tonnes and export values decreased 10% to above NOK 1,6 billion. Export volumes decreased notable to the well-paying markets in Southeast Asia like South Korea, Vietnam, and Japan, while exports to China increased by 8% during the first half year. Price level to all markets is high as demand is strong. Mackerel fished in the summer months is smaller and with less fat content and is therefore more attractive in markets where it is smoked such as in Egypt. Egypt has increasingly become an important market for mackerel lately.

Considering the large volumes left to be fished this year, we might expect a weakness in mackerel prices.


Export volumes of frozen herring and herring products decreased 15% in Jan-Jun this year to 144 000 tonnes. Average export price increased 13% in the period to NOK 12,56/kg.


As long as the Norwegian fleet is denied access to UK fishing zones, the fleet will have to change fishing patterns to be able to fish their quota. This might cause mackerel of lower size and quality which is not optimal for the quality conscious markets in Asia. However, lower sized and cheaper mackerel will be more suitable for the African markets.


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Image: Shutterstock by David Gonzalez Yllera