EP 205 | AIRED 10/20/2014

Chum Salmon Market Puzzling Buyers Globally, 2015 Cod TAC's, Strong Hokkaido Chum Demand

October 20, 2014 This week in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight, Rob Reierson discusses Chum Salmon has been Puzzling Seafood Buyers all over the world this season as Harvests have been Lower than expected...

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--- Chum salmon has been puzzling buyers all over the world this season as harvests have been far lower than anticipated, partiulcarly in North America.

As you may recall, the total Alaska salmon harvest this year was 152.5 million fish, as reported by the Alaska Department of Fisheries and Game.

Of that total, 9.9 million chum salmon were caught, representing only 50 percent of the 19.8 million forecasted volume. Buyers typically use chum salmon as an economic substitute for Sockeye, Coho, and Atlantics in retail for example.

The recent shortages have put a lot of price pressure on this product though, consequently driving up the market. In British Columbia, the Fraser River chum salmon estimates are based on the catch information from the Albion Test Fishery, which has been underway since September 1st.

The estimated chum salmon run size as of last week is just over 1 million fish, and could go as high as 1.31 million. The escapement goal is currently set at 800,000 fish.

Current price points FOB Seattle for GMC Chums are $2.35 / LB for 4/6s, $2.55 / LB for 6/9s, and $2.20 / LB for 9 Ups. Pale meat color H&G chums are currently between $1.50 and $1.80 / LB FOB Seattle.

We are hearing that most Chum is being sold on the fresh market. One processor expressed concerns last week that there might not be any frozen Chum inventories.

We will get a better picture of the situation once the Puget Sound Fishery is further underway. Last week's test fishery in Washington found an average chum size at 10.4 / LB for the whole round.

It's beginning to look like the average size will pan out to be the 6/9 LB H&G Brites and GMCs. Pales will of course show up at the end of the season.

The Chum salmon fishery opened in the Puget Sound last week, and it looks like it got off to a good start. One processor we spoke to told us the fish arrived a week earlier than anticipated and that it's looking like 1.5 million fish might be caught.

Further along in the Puget Sound fishery we will have a better picture of the Chum salmon outlook and we will give you a more detailed update.

--- Moving over to Asia - processors have been seeking large volumes of Hokkaido Chums due to smaller catches than expected of Chum in Alaska.

As always, there is strong demand in the Japanese domestic market for this product, and the high prices of salmon and trout are creating even more demand for the moderately priced Chum.

120,000 tons of Hokkaido Chum was caught in 2013 and 60 percent of that, or 68,000 tons, was shipped to the H&G market.

In the past couple of years, Chinese processors have had difficulty importing Hokkaido Chum as it is more expensive and very complicated to bring into China.

As well, few buyers in the E.U. and in North America would accept the Hokkaido Salmon due to radiation scares.

Chinese plants were able to buy some Russian Salmon last month - one packer purchased 300 tons of Chum Salmon from Russia and was told that another 3000 tons could be purchased if desired.

Current market price is about $4,300 / MT CFR China, leaving portion prices in the mid 3's.

--- And now for a quick update on the Cod market. The Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission met in Norway last week to agree on the 2015 Total Allowable Catches.

In 2013, the Cod TAC was increased to 1 million tons, which was the largest on record. For the second consecutive year now the TAC has decreased, and for 2015 it has been set at 894,000 tons.

45 percent will be for Norway and 55 percent will be for Russia.

We are hearing that there is more Frozen At Sea fish available and Chinese Plants are able to offer Cod products, but at higher prices.

Raw material is currently around $3,000 / MT CFR China. This will set the end price for Pacific Cod loins in the low 3's.

--- Speaking of Cod, our recommended buy this week is IQF Alaskan Production Cod Fillets. $2.45 / LB for 8/16s, 10,000 pounds FOB Seattle.

--- For more great deals like this, please visit the recently launched TradexLIVE, an online portal to our latest offerings of H&G and Value Added Seafood Products. You can get seafood at your fingertips LIVE and in Real-time.

Ask your Tradex Foods Representative to sign you up today!

--- Tune in next week for a look at the Halibut and Black Cod markets, as well as New Labelling Laws for products from China to the E.U.


---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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