By FWi staff

FISHMEAL production is expected to be back to normal levels this year, according to the International Fishmeal & Oil Manufacturers Association (IFOMA).

A joint meeting with the Fish Meal Exporters earlier in the month predicted their five member countries (Peru, Chile, Denmark, Iceland and Norway) will produce about 3.67 million tonnes, compared with a five year average (1995-99) of 3.55m tonnes.

In 1998 prices hit a record high due to the effect of the worst El Niño ever in South America affecting supply.

IFOMA predicts that the increased production forecast will push prices down thus reducing feed costs and improve profitability to the farmer.

But Gavin Miller of David Boyd Ltd doubts it will have much effect.

“Compared with 98-99 prices certainly are favourable. But since the beginning of June they have risen about 25% due to a spate of buying, especially from China.

“Demand is likely to remain the same and I dont foresee a noticeable drop in price.”