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The Politics Of Fish Supply

The Politics Of Fish Supply

The global nature and effect of the fishing industry can sometimes be forgotten as we get our deliveries straight to our premises on a local level, but at James Knight we have to be aware of the macro factors at work so that we can guarantee supplies when things are a bit less stable across the globe.

For example the political instability in Chile where President Morales has resigned is having an effect on salmon prices worldwide because Chile produces a huge amount of Salmon for the US and Japanese markets. 

Chile is in fact the 2nd largest producer of farmed salmon in the world and its geography is ideal for the fishing industry. Chile is a country that looks as if someone has torn a strip off South America but in fact its massive Western Coastline is 2,563 miles long and produces a massive amount of salmon.

As well as its enormous coastline its lack of immediate neighbours means there is less protectionism at play while it has the geologically ideal conditions of having good tides and some great natural shelters – which combined make it a great source of fish.

So now that Senor Morales has gone to Mexico, the whole situation is causing a lot of political instability and the supply lines are likely to be disrupted. This will in turn cause a knock-on effect in the UK and Europe because when 500 tons of salmon disappear from the USA’s quota they will just order from Europe.


And there is another political fish effect at play, coming from China, and this time it involves Lobster. 


There has been a significant increase in the price of Lobster in the last 12 months, sometimes as much as 50% higher year-on-year, and this has been down in part to the lessening of the Chinese government’s crackdown on “corruption”.

A few years ago Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive almost overnight stopped the laying on of extravagant seafood-dominated buffets, packed full of lobster and other premium seafood, as nobody wanted to appear wasteful or catch the eye of the wrong people.

However over the last 18 months this crackdown has lessened a bit, and we are starting to hear about more lobster being needed for Chinese government events and so the price has been creeping back up. 

So this Asian demand fluctuation is one factor, but what we are also seeing is that a lot of the fish are actually getting smaller and this too is having the effect of an increase in price.

We’re not exactly sure how these situations will pay out longer term but be warned that prices are likely to rise in the short term, though be assured that James Knight will work around this as much as we can to minimise any impact on your business.

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