Norwegian processing plants have stopped buying mackerel as their factories are choking on oversupply of fish due to record catches from fleet
The Norwegian pelagic fishing fleet may be making record landings of mackerel but processing plants in the country seem unable to cope with the supply.
Norwegian news outlet Fiskeribladet has reported that mackerel buyers are under heavy pressure and yesterday (Thursday 02 Sept) the signal came from two processing factories that they could no longer cope with the supply.
Last week the the mackerel catch in the Norwegian Sea was a historical 60,900 tonnes, the highest quantity ever, breaking the prevuis weeks record of 54,500 tonnes.
It has been reported that the supply greatly exceeds what processors can deal with which has led Pelagia Liavag factory manager Rune Hoddevik to tell mackerel buyers “We need to get mackerel out before we can buy more.”
Another processor, Fosnavaag Pelagic also signalled it was no longer receiving mackerel due to problems with large warehouses, mackerel for packaging, containers and shipping all affecting production.
This is despite Norway recording record exports of 32,800 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 463 million (€45m/£38.7m) in August this year. These exports figures set solid records both for value and volume.
This signifies an increase in volume of 506 percent. It also registered an increase in value of 390 percent or NOK 369 million (€36m/£31m) compared to August last year.
The previous record month for value was August 2019 and was NOK 158 million (€15.4m/£13.2m). By volume, the previous August record was 15,000 tonnes way back in 2001.
China, Egypt and the Netherlands were the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel in August.
This season, however, there has been a significant increase in quotas.
“This year has been a record-breaking start to the season. In the last three weeks, the Norwegian fleet has made an outstanding effort, and 147,000 tonnes of mackerel were landed in August. The previous record was 34,000 tonnes, dating back to 2002”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
EU fishing organisations, Europêche and the EAPO has called for the Commission to take action against the Norwegians for what it perceives as massive over fishing of the mackerel stock.