Why Stockfish Is So Expensive

Why Stockfish Is So Expensive

Stockfish is an unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks (which are called “hjell” in Norway) on the foreshore.

The fish itself, Cod is a nutritious and flavorful fish loaded with lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. Although lower in omega-3s than fatty fish, cod can still be part of a healthy diet. Cod contains less mercury than some seafood, including popular fish like tuna, and can be prepared in multiple ways.


Now, Stockfish is dried by cold air and wind, without using salt. It’s also one of the most coveted sources of protein in Nigeria, where a bag of stockfish sells for $65 per kilogram, seven times as much as other popular fish like croaker. But its supply and prices are volatile.

It cannot be made in Nigeria, and sellers in Nigeria have no control over how much fish is dried or how much of it gets there. It is dried thousands of miles away, in Norway, where there are entire operations dedicated to stockfish, says a recent expose by BusinessInsider.


According to Tayo Ajimoko, the value chain involves several actors and activities, such as:

1️⃣ Production: The cod fish is caught in the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea and then dried on wooden racks in the open air for several months.

2️⃣ Export: The stock fish is exported from Norway to Nigeria by sea or air, depending on the demand and availability.

3️⃣ Import: The stock fish is imported by Nigerian dealers who have established contacts with Norwegian exporters. The importers pay for the stock fish in foreign currency, which is restricted by the Nigerian government. This makes the import process more expensive and challenging for both parties.


4️⃣ Distribution: The stock fish is distributed by wholesalers and retailers who sell it to various markets across Nigeria. The stock fish is usually sold in whole or cut pieces, depending on the preference of the customers.

5️⃣ Consumption: The stock fish is consumed by Nigerian households, restaurants, and caterers who use it to prepare various dishes, such as soups, stews, sauces, salads, and snacks. The stock fish is valued for its high protein content, low fat content, long shelf life, and distinctive flavor. The stock fish is also considered a delicacy and a status symbol among some Nigerians.


Nutrition/Consumption of Cod

The cod has numerous health benefits such as blood pressure regulation, improved heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, improved brain health, reduced cholesterol levels, enhanced bone and dental health, and weight management.

It is also high in vitamins and minerals that are essential to bodily functioning. Some of the best ways to consume cod is steamed, baked, or grilled.

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