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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 444 | AIRED 07/01/2019

Uncovering Albacore Tuna Deception on the West Coast

July 1st, 2019 --- In this week's episode we uncover how the West Coast is unknowingly getting flooded with cheaper Albacore Tuna. The 2019 North Pacific Albacore Tuna Fishery is set to begin and the market can expect to see a price drop due to the West Coast getting flooded with cheaper South Pacific Albacore Tuna.

2019 Alaska Salmon Commercial Harvest Counter

(Harvest in thousands of fish)


Updated: July 2 2019 9:00AM (View Previous Weeks Totals)

North and South Pacific Albacore share the same scientfic name - Thunnus alalunga.

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They look similar but are very different in size, flavour and price.

North Pacific Albacore has higher oil content and a superior flavor profile over it's counterpart.

Many vendors trying to make a quick buck off uneducated customers are selling this product as Albacore Tuna Product of Canada or USA.

North Pacific Albacore are typically between 7-20lbs per fish producing 1-2lb loins.

The South Pacific Albacore is a bigger fish producing 5-7lb loins.

Importers of this product are cutting these loins down to a pound then boxing them up as 1-2lb loins product of Canada or USA.

To find out more about what is happening at the end user level we speak to a Sushi Chef who requested to remain anonymous on this matter.

[Sushi Chef Interview]
Watch video to listen to sushi chef talk about how lower quality Albacore Tuna is affecting the Sushi Restaurant Industry

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--- Current pricing for North Pacific Albacore can be seen around $8.00/lb USD for loins.

South Pacific Albacore are being offered out at around $3.50/lb USD for 5/8LB loins.

The North Pacific Fishery takes place from June through October and starts as soon as the Tuna are seen in Oregon, then follow their migration route up to British Columbia, Canada.

At the time of this report we are told that the waters temperatures are still faily cold and that the fish are not there yet.

Seafood Encyclopedia - Albacore Tuna

The USA/Canada fisheries do not operate under a TAC but are MSC Certified and are a very well managed fishery.

We reached out to NOAA Fisheries on their outlook for the season and they can be quoted saying.

"Last year had a preponderance of small fish which influence the early termination of the fishery. It is hoped that those small fish will return this year at a marketable size."

In Canada, we connected with Lorne Clayton Executive Director of CANADIAN HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES FOUNDATION and based on preliminary predictions they are hopeful to see Canadian landings increase again this year back to historical norms of 4000 to 5000 metric tons after an extremely low 2017 season.

Last year Canadian fleets landed 2700 Metric Tons.

Our recommendation if you want to ensure you are getting North Pacific Albacore Tuna is to ask your supplier to confirm the Catch Area.

--- And finally, our TradexLIVE offer of the week is for West Coast Caught Albacore Tuna Loins.

These are Wild Caught in British Columbia Canada, #1 Quality, Sashimi Grade, MSC Certified and Ocean Wise Recommended.

TradexLIVE Offer of the Week

(Click to View Offer)

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