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Sea Harvest Group is the fourth largest Hake producer in South Africa.
Of total Groundfish, Hakes is 17% of the volume.
Products, Hubbsi and Cape Hakes are the core volume species in Hake. This is followed by EU Hake, Gayi and Australis caught off New Zealand and Chile. The species, however, vary in terms of quality with EU Hake, Australis and Cape Hakes considered premium quality species due to texture (firmer fish), size (larger fish) and taste (less fatty).
Global hake catches have been stable over decades at ca. 1.2 million tonnes with variability in a particular year driven by the catching of Products.
The fish is caught in EU waters, in the North and South Pacific off the coasts of the US and South America, as well as the Atlantic Ocean off Argentina and Southern Africa. The SA Hake and Products fisheries are MSC certified.
Everybody eats Hakes, so let’s make it great again.
The Hake is the “Ferrari” of the Sea around South Africa.
In South Africa, the TAC’s were 146 thousand tonnes and in Namibia 154 thousand tonnes. Both are expected to be the same in the coming years. As they have been stable for the last ten years.
- Since 2007 the aim of the OMP has been to rebuild the deep-water Hake resource (M. Paradoxus) to 20% of its pre-exploitation level over a 20-year period.
- The OMP revision every 4 years is based on the performance of the stock against the pre-exploitation target of 20%.
- In 2014/15 M. Paradoxus reached its maximum sustainable yield (i.e. the largest yield (or catch) that can be taken from a species’ stock over an indefinite period) level.
- However, in 2015 and 2016, stock assessments showed that the resource had dipped slightly below its target and needed to be rebuilt again. The implementation of the revised OMP (2014-2018) led to substantial reductions in the TAC from 2016 until 2018.
- As of 2018 M. Paradoxus was above MSY, thus closing an MSC condition. M. Capensis even though decreased slightly is still well above MSY
- Increase in Paradoxus due to a refinement in the sub-models, in particular, the species-splitting algorithm
- SSB= Spawning specific biomass (i.e. Females)
- Bsp= total weight of the species
- MSYL = MSY level
- SSB: BMSY = for a particular fish stock the ratio of observed biomass that would provide MSY. When SSB/BMSY = 1, then the biomass equals BMSY. If SSB/BMSY< 1, biomass is too low to provide MSY.
The catch rates for Namibia and South Africa show a nice increase in recent years.
SA progressed well on fulfillments of the P2 criteria also aided by the declaration of 20 new MPAs in the country which the fishery supported.
There has been a lot of investments in the industry in Namibia during the last years and the investments will continue over the coming months, both in new trawlers and factories, showing strong commitments for this special fishery.
The same is happening in South Africa, especially by the two largest players on the market.
EU countries are by far the most important markets for Cape Hake, where 68% of the products are sold.
The most important individual EU markets for Cape Hake are Spain with 51%, Italy with 16% & and Portugal and the Netherlands with 12% and 10% each.
Of total Hake consumption, Spain is by far the largest individual EU market with 59% of the consumption. Together with Italy, Portugal, France and Germany, these EU countries buy approx 90% of the consumption.
SA: Looking forward, the SA Cape Hake resource is recovering well and rebuilding to MSY. Catch rates are expected to increase and size mix to improve as the TAC is reduced again by 5% in 2018. Demand continues to be firm especially in Southern Europe and Australia. Cost inflation in SA is 2% above CPI (CPI averaging c.5%) and this will lead to price inflation with less supply and more demand. With the increase in labour costs, the gap between Sea Frozen profitability and land-based production is widening and there has been a move towards move Sea Frozen with investment in automation on land-based facilities to reduce the effect of continuous labour increases. The two traditional brands are well entrenched in the retail sector with low uptake of private label due to provenance and trust of c.100 year brands.
Namibia: Biomass is healthy and catches rates have started to tick up although size mix is small. Namibian hake is traditionally much smaller than SA Cape Hake. Labour costs in Namibia are low and the industry is moving to more hand-filleting with limited investment in automation. Demand is good leading to higher prices and profitability in the industry is relatively good compared to the crisis in 2004-2006. The industry is hoping the fishery will be MSC certified which will bring new opportunities. The challenges in Namibia remain the politics – short term allocation policies and “sceptic” security of tenure.
The total allowable catch of South American Hake, Hubbsi in Argentina during 2019 is just under 300 thousand tonnes according to the Argentina Fishing Ministry. The prices have been quite stable.
Brazil is the biggest market for the Argentina Hake, 98% fillets, followed by Spain and the USA, also fillets, but then comes Russia where 78% of the exports are HGT.
The main players in the Hake industry 2018 were the local groups Grupo Valastro, Grupo Solimeno and Pedro Moscuzza, but in 2019 Iberconsa in Argentina bought Grupo Valastro and is today the number one exporter of the Hake Hubbsi out of Argentina.
2/3 of the Argentinian Hake exports are fillets and 1/3 HGT. The top three producers exports 70% of the volume.
The Chilean Gayi Hake is in good shape and the fishery catches is stable and the size of the fish caught is growing. The government has though ideas of some changes of the quota system in mind which the industry is not very happy with. The biggest problem the Chilean Gayi Hake faces is the illegal catches.
The main player when comes to the fishing quota of the Chilean Gayi Hake is Pacificblu (55%).
The biomass of the Peruvian Gayi Hake is stable and well managed. The TAC is around 60 thousand tons, but the government is cutting it down, mainly because some companies are not catching their entire quota. Prices are good because of high global demand and some producers have shifted from blocks into HGT where prices are higher and production simpler.
Main players of quota holders for the Peruvian Gayi Hake.
Quota holders for the North Pacific Hake are USA and Canada. The US holds approx. 70% of the quota and Canada 30%. Total combined TAC 2018 was 600 thousand tons and combined catch 420 thousand tons. This difference in numbers is not a biological problem. The reason is usually because of too much bycatch which makes the trawlers to stop the catching.
The biggest single market for USA and Canada frozen Hakes products is in Europe.
These are the main players of the North Pacific Hake producers.
EU hake catches have consistently exceeded the agreed TAC. However, the biomass keeps recovering from the lows in the early part of the 21st century and the TAC has increased from 25k tons to over 100k tons this year.
On the supply side, EU hake is dominated by Spain and France. Spain is the largest harvester and consumer of EU hake. EU hake accounts only for 24% of total EU hake consumption and the balance is imported. EU hake is caught in larger sizes, >c.1kg HOG and sold fresh, mainly in Spain. The “Anisakis” parasite is still a big problem but the worms, although more in numbers, seem to have disappeared post the financial crisis. Prices are very low for local caught hake making imports of fresh hake not viable. Eroski and Lidl have however committed to MSC programmes in Spain so this could be an interesting development for imported Hake.