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Royal Greenland finds Spanish market eager for 'ultra-fresh,' frozen cod

Cod is mitigating the struggles the company faced with soaring coldwater shrimp prices.

Denmark's Royal Greenland has seen its fair share of struggles in the Spanish market.

When prices for coldwater shrimp shot up 40 percent two years ago, sales dropped "dramatically" by 50 percent "at least," Enrique Cordon Scharfhausen, key account manager Spain at the firm, told IntraFish.

The company is still "struggling" with the aftermath but is seeing some relief from another species: cod.

And not just any cod, but its ultra-fresh Nutaaq cod, a harvesting concept first implemented three years ago.

Nutaaq means "new" in Greenlandic, and the cod takes less than two hours to travel from water to freezer.

Fishing for Nutaaq cod happens only a few months each year, from April to October when mature cod leave the open sea and enter shallow waters along the Greenlandic coast.

Local fisherman working in collaboration with Royal Greenland place net traps next to rocky outcrops to catch the fish in a traditional and low-impact fishing method that is size and species selective and environmentally friendly.

At the factory, the cod are kept in a stress-free environment in sea-water pools. They always remain overnight in these conditions to ensure they are calm when processed, to benefit both the fish and the meat quality.

Scharfhausen said the group is producing about 400 metric tons of frozen Nutaaq cod fillets -- and the Spanish market is taking about 350 metric tons of this.

"We still have the capacity to add to our production," he said. The fillets are sold at a premium of around 15 percent and Royal Greenland is mainly targeting high-end customers with the product.

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This story originally appeared in our Conxemar 2017 blog. Catch up on the full coverage here.

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