Het Urker Zalmhuys on coronavirus effect on EU salmon markets: “I expect a further decline in the coming weeks”

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Virus denting global salmon industry.

Ever since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, salmon markets have been gradually been shut to the country.

Restaurant visits – often drivers of salmon – are also dropping. SalmonBusiness reported that sales from the major Japanese dining franchise Watamai fell to about 10 per cent in January – causing it to close all eateries in mainland China, with similar announcements every day as the death toll reaches 1000.

Combined, salmon farmers Norway, Scotland, Canada and Chile export around 100,000 tonnes of salmon to China a year. But what’s the effect on EU markets?

Harm ten Napel PHOTO: Lieneke Schuitemaker

Dutch processor Urker Zalmhuys, Netherland’s third-largest salmon processor said that – for now – there was an direct effect (in Europe) on bigger fish.

“It’s mainly influencing the bigger size salmon 5 kg+, they are now almost at the same level as 4-5 kg fish for example. This will push down also the smaller sizes For now, prices still at a normal level for February to be honest,” said Managing Director Harm ten Napel to SalmonBusiness.

“February is traditionally a month with lower pricing,” he added.

Harm ten Napel, whose company (which processes whole salmon, fillets and smoked) took over the Netherlands-based import/export operation Affish last year, said that other countrys will have more fish to push.

“I expect a further decline in the coming weeks (no idea how much), as it’s uncertain how the virus will evolve and Chile will also have more volume to push because of less demand in Asia,” added Harm ten Napel.