The day salmon become diamonds!


March 7 18:23

"Will salmon continue to be a 'cheap and delicious fish'? It may become a 'red diamond'.


Salmon is the most consumed fish in Japan.

It is also loved as a standard sushi topping, “salmon”.

What the hell is going on with that salmon?

We interviewed the sites of salmon in Japan and overseas.

(Food Security Project Niigata Broadcasting Station Reporter Wataru Yoneda / Sao Paulo Branch Reporter Ryusuke Kimura)

Salmon that became a “flower of the high roots”

Murakami City in Niigata Prefecture is known as the “salmon city”.

It is a tradition to make "salted salmon" as a gift for the year-end and New Year holidays.

The sight of salmon hanging under the eaves of houses swaying in the cold wind has become a winter tradition in castle towns lined with townhouses.

The town has a long association with salmon.In the Edo period, a feudal retainer of the Murakami clan built a spawning river called "Tanekawa" in the river where salmon run up. It is said that it has prepared an environment to proliferate.

Murakami City handles a large amount of wild salmon that is caught domestically as an ingredient for salted salmon, but according to a salmon trading company, of the salmon distributed in Japan, farmed salmon now accounts for 80% of the imports. It means that it is climbing.

I (Yoneda) was assigned to Niigata from Hokkaido, where salmon fishing is popular. I decided to check what was going on.

Soaring salmon market

First, we visited a seafood processing company that wholesales processed salmon products to local restaurants and inns.

Recently, it is said that imported farmed salmon is also being used as an ingredient, but what the president talked about was an "abnormality" surrounding the distribution of salmon.

President of a marine products processing company in Niigata Prefecture

“The price of not only domestic salmon but also imported salmon is soaring due to the weak yen.

Lost in buying?

What the hell is that?

This seafood processing company imports salmon from a wholesale company in Niigata Prefecture, but the rapid depreciation of the yen last year has caused import costs to soar.

The trading company that imported the salmon and the wholesaler that purchased the salmon from them each added costs to the sales price, resulting in a significant increase in the procurement price of about 20%.

It is said that the amount that the company was able to secure last year was only 80% of the previous year due to this influence.

With a stern look on his face, the president said:

President of a fishery processing company

“The price of farmed salmon has suddenly risen, so we can no longer buy a lot of it. Our customers are retailers and restaurants. I have no choice but to pass it on to the sales price, but I'm worried about whether consumers will accept it."

Furthermore, when I listened to the story, I realized that there was another factor behind the “buying loss”.

President of a seafood processing company

“Salmon is gaining popularity and is experiencing a global boom. As a result, we may not be able to purchase high-quality salmon from Japan at low prices.This is the fundamental problem.”

The Reality of the Global “Salmon Boom”

The popularity of salmon overseas was discussed by the president of a seafood processing company in Niigata.

What is the actual situation?

I was able to catch a glimpse of this in Brazil, an emerging country in South America.

Brazil is home to 2 million people of Japanese descent.

In Sao Paulo, the largest city, Japanese food is so popular that it is said that there are more Japanese restaurants than meat and churrasco restaurants.

Among them, people like to eat dishes using salmon.

Most of the salmon consumed in São Paulo is said to be imported from neighboring Chile.

According to the owner of a Japanese restaurant in the city, the purchase price doubled last year compared to three years ago due to the growing health consciousness, but the demand for Chilean salmon has not declined.

Fabio Silva

“Dishes using salmon are popular not only in Japanese restaurants, but also in other restaurants. Even at Italian restaurants, salmon pasta and grilled salmon salad are very popular. Demand will continue to grow in the future. It will continue to grow.”

Salmon is popular in Brazil, a huge market with a population of over 200 million people.

As a result, the price has soared even in Chile, the home of aquaculture, and it can no longer be said that it is a food that can be enjoyed easily.

Looking at the export destinations of Chilean products, Brazil accounts for about 12% of the total, which ranks third after the United States and Japan.

On the other hand, 15 years ago in 2008, Japan's share was 36% of the total, the top export destination, but last year it fell to 20%.

Will we be able to continue stable procurement?

A “salmon boom” is taking place around the world.

What is the reason?

When I spoke to a person in charge of a major domestic food manufacturer, he said that the background to this is that the consumption of marine products is increasing worldwide due to the rise in health consciousness.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for overseas buyers to bid down at prices that Japanese companies cannot afford.

In addition, the situation in Ukraine has also had an impact.

This food manufacturer said that the change in the air transportation route from Norway, which is a major producer of farmed salmon, to Japan has increased the transportation cost, which is also affecting the sales price.

The manufacturer's representatives were concerned.

A representative from the manufacturer said

, "If the price of salmon continues to rise, consumers may refrain from buying it, and the supply side may fall into a 'bad cycle' of securing low-priced salmon even if the quality is lowered. do not have"

Will we be able to enjoy delicious salmon easily in the future?

I asked the person in charge of a major trading company that handles imports.

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Seafoods General Manager Kuroki

"The cost of farming salmon has increased due to soaring energy and feed costs, and the impact of the weak yen has also increased the total cost of procurement by 30% to 40%. At present, there is no shortage of imports, but the issue is how the supply side will respond to the demand that is expected to expand around the world in the future. In addition to the traditional production areas, Turkey, which is farmed in the Black Sea, is also attracting attention from buyers.We are striving to secure stable procurement by developing new import sources, and are also focusing on aquaculture. In addition to marine aquaculture, land-based aquaculture, which had been considered technically difficult, is now in full swing toward commercialization. It may become a luxury item that is said to be a 'feast', and the proportion of salmon may increase more than ever."

How long will "cheap and delicious" last?

Salmon is indispensable to Japanese dining tables as a representative of cheap and delicious fish.

However, the situation surrounding salmon has completely changed due to rising global demand and rising production and procurement costs.

Will affordable prices and high quality continue to coexist, or will it become a “red diamond” that is out of reach?

Here in Niigata, where the culture of respecting salmon remains, I would like to continue thinking about the future of food.

Niigata Broadcasting Station Reporter

Wataru Yoneda Joined in


After working at the Sapporo and Kushiro stations,

he is currently in charge of agriculture and fisheries.

Sao Paulo Bureau

ChiefRyusuke KimuraJoined

in 2003

After working at the Berlin Bureau and the Economic Department, he is currently

in charge of coverage of Latin America.

Point of interest: Commentator Yosuke Sato (Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

The “buying loss” of marine products has been a hot topic for more than 10 years.

According to the 2006 White Paper on Fisheries, which deals with this issue, "buying losses" means that global demand for marine products rises and international prices rise, and Japanese importers cannot keep up with the price competition and are taken over by other countries. It explains.

China, which already had a population of over 1.3 billion at the time, was actively consuming meat.

It can be said that such a large trend has continued since then.

On the other hand, there are big problems in terms of production.

This is because marine products are no longer available in the sea around Japan.

Salmon, which has frequently been poorly caught in recent years, is a symbolic existence among them.

As domestic wild salmon catches decline, dependence on imported farmed salmon will inevitably increase.

Things are worse than when buying and losing started talking about.

Along with tuna, salmon is one of the most consumed fish in Japan.

The most attractive point is that they are always lined up in supermarkets at reasonable prices.

Regarding salmon, land-based aquaculture is becoming more active in Japan, and last year the catch in Hokkaido, the main production area, increased by 56% from the previous year, and there are expectations for a recovery.

Salmon is a fish that the common people want to be friends with.

We need to be careful about trends in production and consumption so as not to be called a "red diamond" by any chance.