Thailand frozen seafood producers advise squid and octopus landings in 2020 have been very limited. Suppliers say landings were good at the beginning of the year but supply has dropped since, especially on larger sizes.
At the beginning of the year, frozen seafood exporters saw that due to the pandemic, domestic and overseas demand for many frozen seafood items especially squid and octopus significantly dropped off as food service demand collapsed as a result of lock downs. However, supplies were there and processors and suppliers were maintaining inventories, mostly large sizes which typically have high demand. The inventories of large sizes have now mostly run out and fishing was closed due to seasonal restrictions.
From Q3, most of the processors do not have much remaining stock for large sizes and even small and medium sizes. Catching season resumes this month. Landings will be mostly small and medium sizes and larger sizes will return to some degree in October.
The Gulf of Thailand closes from Feb to May for zone 1 , May to June for zone 2, June to Aug for zone 3 and then Aug to Sep for zone 4. however, when the gulf is open, the rainy season can be an obstacle for catching. The Andaman sea closes from April to June. Currently most landings are coming from the Andaman side.
Frozen seafood exporters say 2021 is difficult to forecast. We don’t see any likelihood of oversupply in the market which means price will not be lower than this year. Most in the industry do not believe catching will be better in 2021 than 2020. While the supply is not stable, the demand is also unstable. Since squid and cuttlefish are largely sold in the food service sector. If the pandemic situation improves we will see demand for cephalopods improve and prices will move up.