In 2003 some 170 million kilograms of fresh fish were caught, one quarter more than in 2002. The increase in landed fish is chiefly the result of more fresh herring and mackerel being caught. Flatfish and cod catches dropped. The price of the most important fish varieties was lower in 2003 than in the previous year.
Landed fresh fish
The amount of landed herring almost doubled in 2003 compared to the preceding year. The increased herring population allowed higher quotas. Because only a small proportion of herring is auctioned, information on prices is not available.
Total shrimp catches amounted to 10 million kilograms in 2003. Shrimp catches fluctuated considerably in recent years. In 2002 the fishing fleet landed 7 million kilograms of shrimp, the smallest amount in the last decade.
The price of shrimp was relatively low in 2003. One kilogram of shrimp yielded a price of € 2.67, almost a quarter below the 2002 level. In recent years the trade price averaged more than € 3 per kilogram.
Auction prices fresh fish
The amount of landed flatfish decreased in 2003 for the fourth year in a row. In 2003 the amount of landed plaice was approximately 5 percent down on 2002. The auction price per kilogram on the other hand rose by 12 percent to € 2, the highest price in ten years.
The amount of landed turbot fell to 2 million kilograms in 2003. The price went also down to € 9.70 per kilogram. Turbot is still the most expensive variety at the Dutch fish auctions.
The amount of landed sole was – after a decrease in recent years – somewhat higher in 2003 than in the previous year. The fishing fleet landed close to 14 million kilograms of sole. The price fell slightly to € 9 per kilogram.
In a period of ten years sole and plaice, by far the most important varieties of sea fish for the Netherlands, fell by almost 40 percent.
Cod fishing was not very successful in 2003. The supply dwindled to 3 million kilograms. At the end of the twentieth century the normal amount was 15 million kilograms annually.
The trade price of cod was € 2.50 per kilogram. In 2003 the price of cod no longer increased. In the period 1995–2002 the price of cod rose, whereas the amount of landed cod fell by fits and starts.
Folkert van der Werf