EP 174 | AIRED 03/10/2014

USA Pangasius Business on Brink of Collapse, Consumers Turning to Rockfish?

March 10th, 2014 - Welcome to The Tradex Foods "3-Minute Market Insight" This is Robert Reierson and here is the seafood news for Monday March 10th, 2014.

Subscribe to our 3-Minute Market Insight

---The 2014 Farm Bill which was recently signed into law may have devastating effects to the Vietnamese Pangasius trade.

The legislation moves jurisdiction of Pangasius imports from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Agriculture.

In order to be eligible for import to the United States Pangasius must be farmed using the same methods and standards used by US Catfish farmers.

According to Vietnamese officials this will be impossible as farming conditions are significantly different in the two geographical areas.

Vietnam has threatened legal action through the World Trade organization against "the USA's protection of it's fisheries industry".

The financial fall out from this legislation is substantial as 2013 exports of Pangasius to the USA were three hundred million dollars.

The USDA has a very rigorous process and lengthy review period for foreign processors that could potentially delay Pangasius imports for many years.

The USDA has announced a series of meetings starting March 11th and ending March 27th to share information with stakeholders.

The future of Pangasius in the USA is uncertain and is not likely to change quickly with the passing of the bill. Sean O'scannlain chair of the National Fisheries Institute states "the farm bill just really screwed our industry over".

We will follow this developing story and report back on push-back from the Vietnamese government and US based businesses who will suffer from this.

---A decrease in supply of value priced Whitefish like Pangasius may help turn consumers to locally processed Rockfish is the hope of west coast Rockfish processors.

Pacific Rockfish supply comes from processors all the way from Alaska to California in both fresh and frozen along the Pacific coast. Fillets are the predominant form, with fillets ranging from 2 oz.

to over 10 oz. A growing trade is the Asian driven whole display Rockfish valued for it's bright colors.

There are 107 species of Rockfish all with different appearance and size ranges which ensures a wide variety of products to the end market. With fresh prices in the high $3.00 range to the low $4.00 range USD and frozen prices considerably lower fresh sales drive the market.

Frozen inventory levels were high at the end of the summer 2013 but have since normalized to historical levels. The strong inventory of frozen products did help grow market for frozen Rockfish products processed in Canada and the USA.

Further, strong sales of whole Rockfish to China for further processing meant more twice frozen fillets in the market and competitive pricing. The already popular fresh Rockfish may be a growing item in freezers for 2014.


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

If you have a topic you'd like to hear on upcoming 3-Minute Market Insights, tweet us on Twitter @TradexFoods

Subscribe to our 3-Minute Market Insight