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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 479 | AIRED 03/16/2020

COVID-19 vs Halibut: How Will It Affect the Upcoming Halibut

March 16th, 2020 --- In this week's episode we report on how Coronavirus aka COVID-19 will affect the upcoming Halibut Season.

As the 2020 Pacific Halibut Fishery is officially underway, uncertainty looms for seafood buyers as intensifying COVID-19 developments sweep the supply chain.

SINBAD Gold Chum Salmon

There is a lot of uncertainty for the new Halibut season in the pacific.

It is rumoured Foodservice (restaurants) are seeing a 40 plus percent drop in sales and more and more towns are looking like ghost towns due to COVID-19.

There are rumblings that the grounds price will be much lower than last season.

Processors are telling me more fishermen are calling and asking questions vs customers asking for fish.

We asked our processors if fishermen would potentially keep boats out of the water in hopes of the price rising – we were told: for more LL Halibut fishermen, this is their bread and butter and they would not be able to afford a delay or hold back.

Rob's Opinion

Rob's prediciton: Processors will be very hesitant to commit to high grounds prices.

Boats will go out on smaller trips. Sales will have to look to grocery sales rather than food service.

I don’t think fresh sales are going to be aggressive as they were last year.

I think we will see more frozen hali offers this year and maybe even less fletch inventories. Processor will be looking to pay much less should they have to freeze fish.

This Weeks Sponsored Message:

2019 Sustainability Report

--- The International Pacific Halibut Commission set the total constant exploitation yield (or TCEY) for the 2020 Pacific Halibut Fishery at 36.6 millions pounds, 5.2 percent less than the 2019 total of 38.61 million pounds.

SINBAD Gold Chum Salmon

Grounds prices are typically set during the first Halibut opener, often while the boats are first out so we should see grounds prices info trickle in through the week.

Pacific Halibut has traditionally enjoyed a white-tablecloth market with pricing at the retail level seen as high as $21.00/lb USD during peak demand.

In this highly regulated Pacific Halibut Fishery where fishermen have extremely high cost, and where some actually end up losing money after operational cost such as quota leases, and boat and crew cost.

It will be very interesting to see how the Halibut industry will work through this turbulent time as COVID-19 takes its toll on global food markets.

Keep tuned into our 3-Minute Market Insight for further updates as we uncover more from processors over the next few weeks.

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

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