If you are a herring buyer, the period from July to September is a tense one under normal circumstances. But this year buyers are wringing their hands in despair. A reduced UK quota to just over 60,000 tonnes, with strict monitoring of landings and processing by DEFRA, has made this year more stressful than normal. The Alanto/Scandia quota has also been reduced, with the Shetland Fleet swapping some of its herring quota for later season mackerel with Dutch fisherman. Demand from Germany and Eastern Europe has also been higher. Stocks of frozen product have dwindled as a result of last year's catches being smaller. The fish themselves are not co-operating by swimming in widely scattered, smaller shoals making them time consuming and expensive in terms of fuel to catch. Price increases are looming, as those fishermen that are catching are understandably charging more for the fish because of the high demand and shortage of supply. Prices at the local markets range from £300 to £315 per tonne for smaller fish and the word is that they have not peaked yet. The question now is whether the price will double or triple. {{M/E MEAT }}