Less fish oil
Fish oil production mirrored that of fishmeal, and outputs in 2008 declined. In the first half of the year, 332 000 tonnes were produced in the top five producing countries, a 20% drop from the corresponding period of 2007. Both Peru and Chile reported lower fish oil production, but the overall value went up steeply, due to higher prices in the first half of 2008. Chile is very concerned about the future of its horse mackerel resource, which has been weak for several years now.
Sharp drop in Peruvian fish oil prices
The prices of Peruvian fish oil declined sharply in the second half of 2008. The drop is attributed to the falling trend since late in August in the price of rapeseed oil which competes with fish oil. In salmon culture in Northern Europe, fish oil has been used actively instead of high-priced rapeseed oil, this is now changing again, as rapeseed oil is becoming less expensive. In November 2008, fish oil from Peru was selling at US$ 1 200/tonne, a 40% drop from the July 2008 peak.
Regarding menhaden fish oil from North America, fishing only started in July because of bad weather, There have not been price fluctuations, contrary to earlier predictions, with the prices staying at around US$ 1 500/tonne, which are more or less at the same level as Peruvian fish oil.
Pregnant women who eat fish are more likely to have healthier and brighter infants. These findings provide further evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and compounds in breast milk are beneficial for infant development. The children whose mothers ate the most fish during pregnancy were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills. The study appeared in the September 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These interesting results might boost the consumption of fish oil capsule even further.
It is possible that new EU food legislation might create problems for fish oil in 2009, as only fish fit for human consumption will be permitted for fish oil capsule production from 1 January 2009. However, Peru hopes to meet these requirements by April 2009. Fish oil prices bottomed out
The present market situation tends for a stabilization in fish oil prices in coming months, as buyers are well covered, producers have heavy fish oil stocks, and the market experiences lower vegetable prices. In addition, the new production season in Peru is likely to add substantial quantities of fish oil to the market.
By Helga Josupeit © FAO GLOBEFISH 2008