High Liner Posts Annual Sales Decline in 2016 Noting Weak US Demand for Breaded, Battered Seafood
High Liner Foods posted a decline in annual sales volumes and values last year because of the continued dip in demand for its traditional line of breaded and battered frozen seafood items in the US market. The major seafood producer and distributor reported a 4.5 percent decrease in its annual sales in US dollars and a 3 percent decline in Canadian dollars in 2016. The operator's sales by volume were down 2.5 percent for the year. High Liner CEO Keith Decker said he expects US demand for breaded and battered seafood to continue to decline in 2017. “We expect the trend of lower demand for frozen breaded and battered seafood products will continue into 2017 and that we will not return to volume growth until our new product sales can offset the decline that the traditional breaded and battered category is experiencing," said Decker.
Canada and the EU signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement last week, which included a three-year stop gap measure that will phase out seafood processing requirements in Newfoundland. The province uses the minimum local processing requirements to protect jobs, particularly in more remote fishing communities. But the implementation of the deal requires such restrictions to end. Newfoundland officials will use the three-year phase-out period to come up with a stastrategy protect the economic impacts from the trade deal. "We're going to take the time that's required to have the discussion, take the discussions to the fullest extent to see what's available to us," said Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball.
In other news, Alaska's Pacific cod season in state waters will open to pot gear in Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet at noon this Friday. The parallel seasons for jig and longline gear remains open until closed by emergency order from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The season follows the closure of the parallel Pacific cod pot season one day before. This coincides with the National Marine Fisheries Service closure of the Pacific cod pot gear sector in the federal Central Gulf of Alaska.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese seafood export officials said a misleading news broadcast in Spain is what triggered panagsius sales bans at Carrefour stores in EU markets. VASEP said a broadcast by Spain’s Cuatro TV on Jan 5 depicted Vietnamese pangasius being raised in unclean cages and fed with non-industrialized feed like dead fish and other food waste. VASEP said such depictions of Vietnam's pangasius industry were demonstrably false and asked federal officals to take action to defend the industry.
Finally, an Alaska Seafood Marking Institute overview, compiled by the McDowell Group, shows that for sockeye salmon, wholesale prices are expected to remain strong based on robust demand in 2016 sales and increasing farmed salmon prices. Japan also has re-emerged as an important buyer of smaller sized sockeye and larger fish are reportedly selling well in Europe’s smoked salmon market. Conversely, canned prices have fallen sharply and the “Brexit” vote has further reduced demand in the U.K., the largest canned red market.
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