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Salmon Sales Tail Off on Back of Cod Revival in France

07 November 2013

FRANCE - French households are buying less fresh fish: according to FranceAgriMer total fresh fish sales have tailed off by two per cent in volume over the past 12 months, writes Peter Crosskey.

For the cause of this dip, French government economists needed to look no further than farmed salmon, which accounts for more than a fifth of sales volumes. In the wake of a 12% year on year retail price rises, sales have seen an 11 per cent downturn.

FranceAgriMer notes, however, that with heavy promotional activity cod sales volumes have risen by 19 per cent over the past 12 months with a resulting drop of six per cent in average retail prices.

Wet fish counters are still quite common in French supermarkets, complementing the often extensive in-store butchery departments.

Researchers from the government-funded French market news network (RNM) noted that half these counters were featuring cod fillets and nearly 70 per cent were offering medallion-cut fillets from the eye-meat on the back of the fish.

As a result of this observation, RNM added medallion-cut cod fillets to the list of products that it monitors, under the French name “dos de cabillaud.”

Despite operating the largest fish processing centre in Europe, at Boulogne sur Mer the French fish sector imports around 80% of the fish sold in France. One of the major national fisheries, scallops, re-opened last month after its usual summer break.

The 760 tonnes of scallop landed and presented at auction during the first two weeks attracted very low prices compared to long term averages. Despite short catches, prices opened at just over €2/kg, marking an eight per cent drop in average prices.

As a result, six per cent of the catch (50 tonnes) was held over for later sales.

TheFishSite News Desk

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