Commodity news

Fishmeal and fish oil production around 20% less in 2023 than in 2022, IFFO reports

IFFO also reported unexpected sea warming off Peru's central coast, despite El Niño weakening.

Victor Neira_IFFO_1
Credits: IFFO
February 13, 2024

In Peru, which accounts for 20% of global fishmeal and fish oil production in average years, recent observations show unexpected sea warming of Peru's central coast, despite El Niño weakening, IFFO reported. In the North-Center area, the next acoustic research cruise for the first fishing season of 2024 is expected to commence in mid-February.

IFFO’s preliminary estimate of the overall cumulative fishmeal production for the countries analyzed in its reports* is at around 1.738 million mt in 2023, around 23% less than in 2022. The primary factor contributing to this decline can be attributed to the 52% year-over-year decrease in Peru, whose fishing activities were heavily affected by the El Niño phenomenon, with the cancellation of the April-June fishing season in the North-Center, and a lower-than-average fishing quota for the last quarter of the year. The European countries analyzed in this report were the only ones to show an increase in cumulative fishmeal output in 2023.

Regarding fish oil, the total output in 2023 was down by 21% compared to the previous year. The significant supply drop in Peru (down by 85% year on year) was the main cause of this negative performance, resulting from both fewer landings and lower oil yields.

Chile was the only region that managed to register a year-over-year increase in production, thanks to healthier catches and higher-than-average oil yields in the southern regions.

Bearish conditions in both pig and aquaculture markets cause a drop in China’s fishmeal imports

At present, fish processing in China is focused on frozen fish caught in the past few months. On the trade side, the year-on-year drop in China's 2023 fishmeal imports can be attributed to the bearish conditions in both pig and aquaculture markets. The aquaculture sector finds itself in a quandary due to an oversupply of aquatic products and a sluggish demand. According to the China Feed Industry Association, the aquafeed output in 2023 reported a 4.9% year-on-year decrease. Industry insiders don’t expect much change in the first half of 2024.

The pig sector, which is a significant user of marine ingredients in feed, continues to grapple with an oversupply. According to the latest release from the National Bureau of Statistics, pork production in 2023 increased by 4.6% year-on-year - the highest production since 2014. In turn, pig feed output increased by 10.1% year-on-year in 2023. Oversupply and higher feeding costs are squeezing pig farmers’ margins forcing them to drastic cost-cutting measures, including new feed formulations.

*Peru, Chile, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, UK, Ireland and Faroe Islands, USA, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Mauritius, Spain.