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Low squid and octopus catches lead to high prices

Low squid and octopus catches lead to high prices

The world market is characterized by low supplies of both octopus and squid, and rising prices. In China, demand is strong, and the Chinese consumer is willing to pay high prices, which hurts the European and US markets. The United States of America is importing more, but is offered mainly low quality products.


The second Moroccan octopus season was recently delayed until 15 June in the Atlantic, while the fishery in the Mediterranean started on 1 June. A fall in Moroccan catches of octopus caused prices to rise significantly, as demand is also very high at present. Catches during the winter were low, and thus cold storage holdings have also been low, pushing prices up. Moroccan octopus prices have risen by more than eur1.00 per kg during recent months. Present prices are the highest on record. Prices for Mauritanian octopus are at the same level as in morocco. Demand, particularly in the United States of America, has recently been exceptionally strong, which naturally has pushed prices up (undercurrent news). These high prices also seem to have attracted traders who are not normally dealing in cephalopods.

The national aquaculture and fisheries commission of Mexico (CONAPESCA) has announced that Mexico is now the third largest producer of octopus in the world. The country’s octopus production increased by 14 000 tonnes between 2013 and 2016, and the value of this production increased from us$34.6 million to us$66.0 million. In 2016, octopus exports, mainly to Spain, Italy and the United States of America, amounted to 10 800 tonnes worth us$57 million. The Mexican octopus fishery is concentrated mainly on two species: Mexican four-eyed octopus (octopus maya) and the common octopus (octopus vulgaris).

There was a major drop in imports of octopus into japan during the first quarter of 2017; total imports fell by 33.6 percent, to just 8 900 tonnes. All the major suppliers experienced a drop in shipments. Morocco remained the major supplier, accounting for 38 percent of the total, followed by china with 32.6 percent, and Viet nam with 14.6 percent.
This development confirms the trend over the past three years. In 2015, Japanese octopus imports during the first quarter of the year amounted to 15 000 tonnes. In 2016, this figure fell to 13 400 tonnes (-10.7 percent), and in 2017, it fell further to 8 900 tonnes (-33.6 percent).

In Spain, in contrast, there was an 11 percent increase in octopus imports during the first quarter, with total imports amounting to 18 000 tonnes. Thus, Spanish imports have continued the trend of slow, but steady growth in octopus imports. Morocco remains the major supplier followed by Mauritania.



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