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High dollar impacting on seafood returns

High dollar impacting on seafood returns

12 February 2008

The high New Zealand dollar is putting financial pressure on the seafood industry and New Zealand’s economy, says the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council’s Chief Executive, Owen Symmans.

The continued high dollar is preventing New Zealand from benefiting from the strong international market prices for seafood, Mr Symmans said. Market prices in US dollars for most export species have increased over the past year – for example, ling up by 35%, skipjack tuna 45%, snapper 25%, mussels 10% and hoki by 20%.

“Despite this, the increased export return has been depressed. With 2007’s exchange rate achieving over US79 cents during the year, sales were worth NZ$1.25 billion compared to NZ$1.35 billion in 2006. The industry’s return is falling around NZ$20 million for every cent the NZ dollar strengthens.”

Mr Symmans said that this pressure has huge implications for investment in the industry, research and development and employment opportunities.

New Zealand seafood is sustainably harvested and is the fifth biggest export earner for New Zealand’s economy. Its reputation for well-managed, sustainable seafood contributes to the premium prices that New Zealand product can expect overseas, Mr Symmans said.

“It’s worrying that we are not able to maximise investment and consolidation for the industry’s future because we cannot reap the benefits of the current high market rate for our product.”

ENDS

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