The past several months represented a challenging time for seafood companies (particularly ASX stocks) but some have managed to emerge from the crisis in a stronger position.

COVID-19, the summer’s bushfires, oceanic conditions and trade conditions with China all played into the performance of seafood companies.

A report out of the Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) found the industry was overall resilient but different companies endured different experiences and every firm had to be prepared for future shocks.

Overall companies serving live and fresh export products did worse than their peers due to a decline in price and volume – for instance, abalone exports fell by 45 per cent.

While international exporters lagged, companies serving the domestic retail and takeaway food service markets did better, seeing spikes in demand.

These trends have been manifest in the performance of ASX seafood stocks. On one hand Huon Aquaculture Group (ASX:HUO) and Tassal (ASX:TGR), which are prominent exporters and specialise in fresh seafoods, have dropped.

But the other, a couple of niche seafood stocks have gone the other way and more than doubled in 12 months.

Here’s a list of all ASX seafood stocks and their performance…

Code Company Price %SixMth %Yr MktCap
NZS New Zealand Coastal 0.023 -57 125 $13.1M
MCA Murray Cod Aust Ltd 0.25 100 108 $138.4M
SFG Seafarms Group Ltd 0.086 -1 41 $208.3M
AS1 Angel Seafood 0.155 3 7 $25.0M
CSS Clean Seas Ltd 0.7 19 3 $75.0M
TGR Tassal Group Limited 3.5 -6 -10 $739.7M
OGA Ocean Grown Abalone 0.088 -8 -23 $17.7M
NZK NZK Salmon Ltd 1.4 -18 -24 $188.3M
HUO Huon Aquaculture Grp 2.45 -17 -42 $269.2M

 

The top two

One is New Zealand Coastal Seafoods (ASX:NZS) which specialises in ling maw – a fish’s swim bladder – which is typically exported dried.

Organs such as fish bladder may sound hideous but it is considered a delicacy in its export markets. The company was still able to operate amidst COVID-19 and find customers.

Second is Murray Cod Australia (ASX:MCA) which breeds, grows and exports fish. But unlike many other companies it uses artificial ponds and irrigated water rather than pens in the open ocean.

The company has been rapidly ramping up its growing capacity for the last several years. It was also able to grow its half yearly revenues from FY20 to FY21 by 119 per cent and turn from a loss to a profit.

If you’ve been a long term shareholder it’s fair to say you’ve had a wild ride from lows such as having to reassure investors it wasn’t affected by the Murray River fish kills in 2019 to highs such as being backed by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.