The UK's principal buyer and processor of seafood, Young's Bluecrest, is warning its catering customers to expect price increases of between 6 and 10% on fish products, as commodity and raw material costs continue to esculate.

Worldwide consumer demand for fish continues to be buoyant and in the UK seafood sales were up by 8% in the 12 months to September 2001.  however, market prices on core species such as cod, haddock and pllack have risen by around 10% and - along with most other food manufacturers - Young's is also experiencing inflation on other key commodoties, such as flour, oil, dairy produce and potatoes.  Price increases are already starting to feed through to the trade.

The inflation on fish is due partly to increased demand but largely because more rigorous quota regimes are stating to take effect, which Youn's firmly believes is in the long term future interest of fisheries management.

Ed Davidson, director of foodservice at Young's, says "It is important to understand that fish prices are a matter of 'short term pain for long term gain' since more restrictive quotas are vital to ensure the long term sustainability of global fishereis.  Nevertheless, the outlook for fish remains excellent - seafood restaurants continue to grow in popularity and fish overall is still the fastest growing protein."

As he says. "Price inflation on some popular species lide cod is inevitale in the short temr until better fisheries management practices feed through.

Nevertheless, it is worth also remembering that a vast range of fish are now readily available - including sustainable ones like New Zealand Hoki and Atlantic Salmon - so cateres can make thier own small contirbution to the protection of world fish stocks by offering customers a wider divesity of species on the menu".