●Mackerel, croker’s exports hit 700,000 tons
Japanese exporters have crippled the price of fish being shipped into the Nigerian market largely dominated by Norwegian mackerel.
Already, Norway mackerel exports to Nigeria have declined by 50 per cent.
It was gathered that Norwegian fish importers were selling at a loss as Japanese exporters were selling at $500 lower than the Norwegian’s price of $1,500 per ton.
According to the Federal Department of Fisheries, importation of fish, especially the mackerels, sardinella, hake, croakers and herrings have remained an increasing phenomenon.
It said that the importation was conservatively estimated at 0.7 million tons.
The exporters lamented that prices of Pacific mackerel from Japan had further pressured their prices down by a boom in imports to Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt.
According to Katja Nowak Nielsen, chief operating officer of Nowaco, demand has shifted to Pacific mackerel imported from Japan since June 2017.
She added that Norwegian exporters were looking for markets in South Korea and smaller Southeast Asian countries, where their catches could be sold.
She said: “The situation in Nigeria is problematic; because of currency rates, Atlantic mackerel is not really affordable to the average person. For now, there is a lull in sales for Norwegian mackerel. When Norwegian firms were selling to Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt earlier in 2017, prices were roughly between $1,300 and $1,500 per ton.
“The Pacific mackerel are selling at some $500 per ton cheaper. These are smaller sizes, with a slightly lower fat content and so are generally more affordable.”
It would recalled that the battle to regain the fish market in Nigeria started last October, when the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) organised a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos to address the challenges they were facing in the country.
The council complained that Norway had been exporting fish to the Nigerian market since 1890 without problem.
According to the council’s Director for Central and West Africa, Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), Mr. Trond Kostveit, Norwegian exporters were looking into more specify areas in the importation of fish in Nigeria.
He said that they would partner with Department of Fisheries for more cooperation with Nigeria importers.
However, the Director, Federal Department of Fisheries, Mr. Mohammed Muazu, who was represented by Deputy Director of Fisheries, Mrs. Adepegba Olabisi at the forum, noted that fish was the most highly traded food commodity in the world.
Muazu explained: “The relative low prices of fish compared to other sources of animal protein except pork, has being nutritionally superior to other meats.