Norwegian white fish products, so far have felt no effect of the imports due to fact that the increase in pangasius (Vietnamese pangasius catfish) imports from Vietnam has coincided with the increase in demand for seafood in EU.
Farmed fish from Asia could provide Norwegian fish with tough competition in the European market place and so Norway’s industry must focus on better market analysis and new product development, says the Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Fiskeriforskning).
A recently published report by Fiskeriforskning says that a large number of European frozen fish producers are now launching products with pangasius (Vietnamese pangasius catfish), and that several new products are featuring on the supermarket shelves. This is regarded as a potential competitor for Norwegian white fish products such as cod, saithe, haddock, redfish and Greenland halibut.
Production of pangasius is expected to reach in the region of one million tonnes in the year 2010. Imports are increasing rapidly and reached approximately 130,000 tonnes in the year 2006. Norwegian fish producers may see greater competition in the frozen consumer pack products market. For example breaded fish, where species does not necessarily influence consumer choice.
There is, however, continued uncertainty with regard to the effect and consequences of the increase in imports of new species. If consumption falls, while at the same the market is flooded with cheap fish from Vietnam, this could have serious negative consequences for the Norwegian frozen fish industry.
Fiskeriforskning’s report points out that the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industries are well equipped to meet the challenge of increasing competition from new species. One key advantage is the short distance Norwegian products have to travel to mainland European markets. This offers potential to develop the fresh fish market, which usually commands better prices.
Norway also has a well-established, traditional market for products such as clipfish, salted fish and stockfish. These specialties are expected to have continued