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Wild salmon prices hit rock bottom, Chinese market poised for growth

Global wild salmon production reached a historical peak in 2023. In overseas markets, due to various reasons such as inflation, rising interest rates, wars and sanctions, supply far exceeded demand. While prices fell to a low, the stocks in the hands of various fishing companies Also piled up like mountains.

According to statistics, the total output of wild salmon in Russia this year is about 600,000 tons, that of Alaska in the United States is about 300,000 tons, and that of Japan is between 70,000 and 80,000 tons. For North American and Russian exporters, extremely high inventories cannot be resolved in the short term, and the challenges far outweigh the opportunities.

At the Qingdao Fisheries Expo, Dmitrii Koshelev, deputy general manager of the Russian company Viktai, told UCN that this year’s salmon harvest has led to a sharp drop in prices. The current price of head and gut removed (H&G) pink salmon has fallen below $2,000/ton. Last year’s price was $4,600- $4,700/ton.

He admitted frankly that the oversupply situation has exacerbated the decline in demand. In previous years, 80% of Russian wild salmon was exported to China. This year is an exception, so every merchant is losing money.

Koshelev predicts that the recovery cycle of the salmon market will last from 6 months to a year, depending on Chinese demand.

Viktai has plans to expand its production capacity from the current seven factories to 10, with a daily raw material processing capacity of 3,000 tons. This year, Viktai's output exceeded 50,000 tons, setting a record. The main products are H&G and whole fish. The company also has fish fillet and smoked fish product lines.

Koshelev said that Western sanctions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war have caused serious obstacles to the logistics and payment systems of Russian companies. The company is still operating. Although it is difficult, he believes that the dawn is ahead. In the Russian domestic market, Viktai is a beneficiary of inflation. Salmon prices are cheaper than some other proteins. The company has plans to supply more wild salmon to domestic retailers and build a new value-added product processing plant in St. Petersburg.

As a leading company in the domestic salmon processing industry, Dalian Rich Group continues to make efforts in the field of developing new wild salmon products and has achieved excellent results.

"Now is the best time to promote wild salmon," Tang Entang, chairman of Rich Group, told UCN.

Dunn pointed out that this year's global output is nearly 1 million tons. The international market has weakened demand due to various reasons. North American processing companies have insufficient confidence in the future market and have little enthusiasm for buying goods. "I estimate that only 30% of wild salmon has entered U.S. processing plants, and most of the stocks are still in the hands of fishing companies. It may be difficult to digest them before May next year."

"A few years ago, we we

re developing wild salmon products and achieved very good results. We have just reached a consensus with to comprehensively promote wild salmon products in the Chinese market. In terms of product quality and nutritional structure, this is a good match. A good product that is very helpful for consumers’ health.”

"In the field of wild salmon, we are the most leading company, and many manufacturers follow us. The development of diversified ways to eat salmon has always been the direction of our efforts. We have salmon dumplings, fish balls, smoked fish and other products. This year, we launched new Wellington salmon products, as well as products with various tastes and flavors, which were unveiled at the Qingdao exhibition."

"We are the largest importer of coho salmon. This fish is mainly cooked food in Japan and Europe. We plan to promote coho salmon domestically and make cooked food products to follow the international trend." Dunn Tang said.


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