New season delayed due to poor weather and abnormal sea temperatures Production of pilchards in Namibia has been cut by 50% under a conservation programme recently introduced by the government to preserve a dwindling fishing resource. Three factories normally produce but only one will operate, the Etosha plant, where all the fish will be handled, much of it custom packed for the two non operating companies, who have retained their fish quota under the cutback. The new fishing season has been delayed by a couple of months due to poor weather and abnormal sea temperatures, which has made locating the shoals extremely difficult. Of the other African producers, South Africa is increasing its production but a 19% duty into the EU makes it difficult to compete, so all production is sold on the local market, which some experts say is worth six million cases of 24s. Fishing has been better off in South Africa and production is off to a good start. Larger fish than normal has meant that all production has been in the tall can, causing a shortage of the popular jitney size. Industry figures indicate no carry over, so there will be a scramble for new season's product as and when it arrives in the UK. Prices will be higher but importers are reluctant to offer forward contracts pending clarification of fish availability in Namibia. Peru, the other main supplier to the UK, has been suffering raw material shortages for some time. {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}