2014-15 ~ A Solid Year All Around
Deliveries Up ~ Payments Up ~ Markets holding strong.
Commercial fishers had a busy fiscal year in 2014-15 – and it showed.
In 2014-15, total returns to fishers were at a five-year high of $29.5 million ($26.5 million in initial payments and $3 million in final payments). Fish delivered to the Winnipeg plant increased 6% over 2013-14.
Freshwater’s sales revenue was also higher at $71 million, a 3.5% increase over 2013-14. We were able to continue in many of our markets with strong prices, particularly for lake whitefish and walleye (pickerel). The Canadian dollar’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar was another contributing factor to the strong sales revenue.
The Russian trade embargo that began in August 2014 continues to impact lake whitefish, trout, inconnu and drum sales. However, the sales and marketing team are working to expand lake whitefish and trout sales in other markets, and to find new markets for inconnu and drum.
One great success for Freshwater was the growth of Israel as a market for carp. Carp sold to Israel in 2014-15 more than doubled from the prior year.
Here are the highlights for the main species in 2014-15:
Average selling prices and overall revenue from walleye increased in 2014-15 from the previous year. Sales volume was down, but revenues were near record highs due to two main factors: increased prices with a steady demand and the positive impact of the declining Canadian dollar.
The lake whitefish pool was directly affected by the Russian trade embargo. At the time the embargo was introduced, Russia was the largest frozen lake whitefish market. Prices to non-Russian markets were increased to help offset the loss of sales to Russia. Expanding markets for pin-bone-out fillets in Germany, Finland and North America also contributed to an overall strong year for lake whitefish.
Mullet sales increased in volume, revenue and average price per kilogram in part due to an increase in pricing and deliveries, plus the weaker Canadian dollar. A market for using mullet heads for lobster bait on the east coast helped improve earnings for mullet fishers.
The northern pike pool struggled in 2014-15 with decreased demand from France and the declining value of the Euro. However, because Freshwater has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading suppliers of northern pike roe, roe sales stayed strong with increased selling prices.
This species – both roe and whole fish – is in strong demand. Freshwater has been able to sell carp products soon after they have been delivered by fishers and processed in the plant.
In the current fiscal year, Freshwater is once again focused on maximizing returns to fishers who deliver their catch to us. The Canadian / U.S. exchange rate is finally working in our favour. We continue to seek high delivery volumes to keep supply in our markets on par with demand.
Freshwater’s solid international reputation and demand for top quality, wild-caught products will bode well for us as we continue to feed the world.
Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation