EP 168 | AIRED 02/03/2014

East & West Coast Mackerel Shortages, Prices and 2014 TAC's

February 3rd, 2014 - Welcome to The Tradex Foods "3-Minute Market Insight" This is Robert Reierson and here is the seafood news for Monday February 3rd, 2014.

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---Mackerel has been a hot topic this past week as shortages are being realized in the market.

The Atlantic Canadian mackerel (Scomber scombrus) fishery was very poor in 2013 with only 7,431 tons of product harvested of the 36,000 ton allowable catch.

The Total allowable catch for the Canadian Mackerel fishery has remained unchanged since 2012 and will be reviewed in March.

Any change in TAC will be announced after the review.

The fishery is open from January 1st to December 31st in Canada, but that does not reflect the actual fishing season. Mackerel are intercepted on their migration so fishing period differs by region.

Typically fishing begins April 1st in the Maritimes, June 1st in the Gulf of St.Lawrence & Quebec and August 1st in Newfoundland.

In 2013 fishing was finished in September. Current inventories of Canadian scombrus mackerel are very low and prices reflect the shortage.

--The situation in the USA is not much better with USA processors also reporting low inventory holdings and low harvest to date.

The 2013 quota in the USA was roughly 33,821 metric tons with cumulative landings for 2013 of 4,406.9 metric tons.

The 2014 quota remains unchanged from last year with a very low harvest to date of 107.9 metric tons.

--Atlantic scombrus mackerel is larger than the product from California with a higher fat percentage making it a more desirable product.

Despite Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus) being less desirable product companies are looking at Pacific japonicus as a substitute.

--California mackerel is caught year round with the largest catch coming in the summer months. Summer Mackerel is larger but is either in spawn or post spawn condition and lower quality than the smaller higher fat content fish landed in the fall and winter. The 2012-2013 California TAC was set at 30,386 MT with a harvest of 3,229 metric tons.

The 2013-2014 TAC, is set for 39,268 metric tons with harvest to date of 7,191 metric tons.

Processors are reporting no significant catch of japonicus mackerel at the moment with strong demand.

Atlantic Mackerel prices for the limited product available are in the mid to high one dollar range. Any remaining inventories of Pacific mackerel range between $0.65-$1.00 depending on the size and grade of the fish.

--In this high demand low supply market buyers should be careful not to inadvertently buy bait grade product unknowingly.

----Thanks for joining me for the Tradex Foods "3-Minute Market Insight" This is Rob Reierson - “BUY SMART” and “EAT MORE SEAFOOD”

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