March 5th, 2018 - In this week's episode we will talk about Pacific and Atlantic Halibut. Commercial Pacific Halibut fishing is set to begin March 24th, but after stale quota talks at the annual meeting in January, the 2017 quota limits will set the bar.
--- On the other side of the country, Atlantic Halibut from the Gulf of St Lawrence is managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada. The fishery runs from May to May annually and saw a 25 percent quota increase from 1036 metric tonnes in 2016/2017 to 1297 metric tonnes for the 2017/2018 season. Many fresh Pacific Halibut buyers have switched to Atlantic Halibut and it is unknown if they will switch back to Pacific when the season begins. 10/20 headed and gutted Atlantic Halibut pricing is all over the map, ranging anywhere from $5.80 to $6.10 per pound in the Boston market.
Compare this price point to 10/20 Pacific Halibut pricing on the West Coast at $6.50/lb just last month. If Pacific Halibut pricing starts out strong this season, we predict less demand as buyers stick with Atlantic products. With the Pacific Halibut quota still pending for 2018 but a quota reduction expected, it's likely that fishermen anticipate the market to rise. However, with strong inventories and abundant Atlantic product, Pacific Halibut pricing will have to drop to be accepted, which will likely push down grounds pricing as a result.
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