Confirmation that Ecuadorian authorities have decided on a six-week fishing ban has caused major concern among tuna importers.

Raw material prices have been high for some weeks but hopes fishing would improve and lower prices start to come through have been dashed and UK traders expect serious out-of-stock positions to occur.

“Canners are ceasing production and getting way behind on contracts,” an importer said, adding that there were no encouraging signs in any of the key fishing areas. “Poor catches in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and the Indian Ocean are ominous,” he added.

Bangkok is now nearing the $1,000/tonne, a level already breached in Ecuador and the Indian Ocean. Prices will have to ease, but packers are insisting any weakness is at least six to eight weeks away, meaning problems for UK importers during the busy summer promotional period.

Already some multipack deals have been postponed.