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Mediterranean Ranched Bluefin Shipment to Japan Expected to Decline to One-Third

October 9, 2008

According to one of the stakeholders in the Tsukiji Market in Toyo, the total amount of Mediterranean bluefin tuna ranched by related countries was approximately 18,000 tons, however the shipment of fresh bluefin to Japan is expected to be one-third of the last year amount of 3,000 tons.

Rising demand for bluefin in the European markets, expansion of tuna culture operations in Japan, and declines in demand for fatty fish in Japan are the contributing factors of this smaller shipment of bluefin.

As for the buying price, price negotiations have not reached the common ground due to a discrepancies between sellers’ asking price of \3,000/kg and \2,700 from the Japanese side, wanting to keep the price as low as the prior year.

Based upon the checking system of the stricter ICCAT regulations, ranching Mediterranean bluefin ended in the mid June earlier than the prior year of late June.

The consolidation and closing of traders in Spain, the main trader, has left two major companies to lead the Mediterranean bluefin business. The tighter ICCAT regulations called a stop to Malta’s using Libya’s fishing quota and other accommodations related to fishing quota this year.

It was said that Turkey exceeded its quota, indicating changes brought on by the new systematic structure after a shift to the more stringent regulations.

The following is the total quantity of ranched bluefin by country: Spain/1,710 tons (2,280 tons last year; the same as follows); Croatia/3,640 tons (1,250 tons); Malta/4,100 tons (5,900 tons); Tunisia/2,600 tons (1,080 tons); Cyprus/900 tons (800 tons); Turkey/4,060 tons (2,450 tons); Italy/1,170 tons (3,370 tons); Greece/700 tons (700 tons); and a grand total of 18,880 tons (17,830 tons).

Purchasing Price Remaining Undecided

The global bluefin tuna market has been proliferating, evidenced by booming Japanese cuisine and sushi in Europe encouraging local consumption and exportation of the fish to the US. Conversely, a demand for fatty fish in Japan has been dwindling. The market prices of frozen wild Indian bluefin tuna are in decline, despite the smaller quantity of the available fish. The higher the grade of the fish, the more sluggishly it moves.

The Mediterranean sellers went down on the price to \3,000/kg, after insisting on \3,200; however the purchasing price Japan is seeking has not been met, causing the negotiation to go parallel.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Remaining the same; Mexican Tuna is in Decline

6,000 tons of Australian Southern bluefin were ranched this year, remaining similar to last year; 8,000 tons of manufactured articles consisted of 2,000 tons of fresh tuna and 6,000 tons of frozen kind. The fish price being \1,650, cheaper than the last year’s price of \1,800 led to completion of orders from Japan.

Mexico ranched 3,700 tons of tuna last year, however the weakened business base of fish farmers seemingly resulted in less than 3,000 tons. The prices of frozen big-eyed tuna cost \1,000/kg earlier, however the prices have been dropping to \820 to \830.

One of the stakeholders commented, “As moving toward the end of the year, the market prices should be heading upward, however they are instead going downhill. Despite the fewer available frozen commodities in the market, the prices are going stagnant. Conversely, instead of decreasing supply of ranched tuna from overseas, domestic tuna culture production has been dynamic. A recent consumer trend of preferring safe domestic products is working to accelerate the domestic tuna production.”

Original article was published on October 9, 2008 and translated by Kiyo Hayasaka

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