fresh fish

The price of fish and chips could be about to go up as cod prices are on the rise as a result of tightening supplies and rising demand, experts are warning.

The price per tonne for wholesale Norwegian cod has jumped by 25.7% year on year to £1,060 [Mintec].

Mintec analyst Mark Kozlowski said increased demand, particularly from China, and a drop in supply - fuelled in part by a 10% reduction in the Barents Sea cod quota - had led to a sharp price rise for cod.

With Norwegian cod accounting for about 20% of cod consumed in the UK, Kozlowski warned the current stock situation could lead “to tighter supplies,” with potential price increases being felt by UK consumers.

“Prices in Norway will indirectly influence cod prices from other producers,” he added.

Cod is not the only fish and seafood species to experience price rises. The price of Norwegian coldwater prawns has soared by 57% to £2,387/tonne over the past 12 months, with lower Canadian quotas leading to supplies being “very tight” across the market, according to Kozlowski.

However, British consumers are unlikely to have to start paying more for prawns any time soon. Most of the prawns sold in the UK are warmwater prawns, and prices for those are falling. The cost of Ecuadorian prawns in January was down nearly 20%, with similar trends seen in Thailand [Mintec].

The peak warmwater prawn farming season is now over, with production not expected to begin improving until the end of February, but retail prices are expected to stay stable as global demand has dropped off.

After an upturn in demand over Christmas in Europe, demand was now down as a result of a fall in the value of the euro, which had made imports pricier, said Kozlowski.