NORWEGIAN salmon prices have dropped significantly during the past week.
The main reason is thought to be a slump in demand as millions of European take off on summer holiday. But there is also evidence of consumer resistance to the high shop prices seen earlier in the year.
Prices this week are expected to drop to their lowest level since March, falling well below NOK 60 per kg -and buyers are predicting they could drop to NOK 55 per kg. Fish farms are also reporting larger than normal volumes of unsold salmon. Prices in Scotland have fared slightly better.
“Europe has gone off on holiday and we are paying the price,” one Norwegian salmon farmer said at the weekend.
However, the market remains volatile. Norwegian farmers stepped up production over the past two years as prices soared, almost tripling at times to NOK 80 per kg.. As a result almost all salmon farmers have reported record earnings and profits during that period. But many analysts predicted at the time that there would be a backlash. The performance of the Norwegian Stock Exchange is heavily influenced by the performance of fish farming companies.
Meanwhile, the mussel industry in Norway has been hit by poison outbreaks in a few parts of the country such as Helgeland and in Vesterålen.
Marine biologists believe the outbreaks have been caused by sea algae which cause the mussels to become poisonous. The country’s food safety authority is currently taking samples of water and algae for further testing. The authorities stress that mussels in most other parts of the country are quite safe to eat.