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Skipjack Tuna Prices Far Out-performing The Global Fish Price Index

Skipjack prices since 2006 have frequently been soaring far higher than the FAO Global Fish Price Index, reaching huge peaks in both 2008 and 2011 recorded at as much as nearly double the total fish cost.

While movement has been common for the skipjack price index which is based on the CFR Bangkok price for whole round frozen skipjack of 1.8kg and up, the level has remained consistently higher than the lowest price figure recorded in 2000.

Skipjack price rises are in line with the peaks in the global fish index, but its elevations are not relative, with the most common species of tuna reaching heights more dramatic and on a far larger scale than that of the global price index. The FAO index is only reflecting the levels up to October 2012, but it is expected that once the numbers are updated to June 2013 the gap between skipjack and other wild species on the index will even be greater.

But according to recent figures the Food and Agricultural (FAO) fish price index is up 16 percent more over the last year. Phil Gibson, senior vice president with Encore Associates told Intrafish: “You’re going to see it across all proteins.”

However he added that tuna seems to be ‘softening up some,’ suggesting a drop in price which is also reflected by the skipjack price index figure for 2012, however already 2013 prices until June have shown that this softening turned into bigger rises.

In 2011 the global skipjack catch accounted for just over 59 percent of the total global catch of the major commercial tuna species, making it a highly important species within the tuna market, re-emphasizing the impact its price can have on the major fishing nations.

Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Ecuador and the United States are the top five nations fishing for skipjack across the world, according to 2011 FAO figures, catching this species in high volumes and exporting to various countries. The price of skipjack is of high importance to the economic performance of these countries as major fisheries players within the market.

The fact that the gap between the skipjack index and the other wild fish species index is still widening, raises the question how the consumers will react to this. Will there be an index level where they will replace their tuna with another fish species ? 

Record high numbers of the price of shrimp and farmed salmon have also been indicated, with mussels also showing a cost rise in the seafood market, reflecting the recently reported 16 percent rise in the FAOs total fish price index.