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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 489 | AIRED 05/25/2020

Global Seafood Summary : Halibut, Squid, Pacific Cod, Pollock & Alaskan Salmon

May 25th, 2020 --- In this week's episode we give you a compact power update on the global seafood markets for Market Squid, Alaska and Russia Pacific Cod, Pollock, and Halibut and Alaska Salmon.

Starting off with California Market Squid, and in a turn of events we might actually see a big harvest year this season compared to the 2019/20 season which was labelled a total bust with only 29.9 million lbs harvested.

For the 2020/21 season (which runs April to March), already has over 12.3 million lbs landed with last month's catch seen as one of the best Aprils since 2010 where almost 230 million lbs were harvested during the 2010/2011 season.

Current Market Squid Landings

If this season turns out to be big year, we should see the return of California Market Squid exports compared to 2019 where most sales went to local foodservice due to the shortage (as a result of the poor harvest).

Looking at the Oceanic Niño Index, although we experienced some weak El Niño conditions since October, according to the International Research Institute the model forecast calls for neutral conditions in summer with some chance of La Niña by fall - noting that from a statistical standpoint La Niña conditions seem to run parallel with good harvest years.

--- Moving onto Pacific Halibut and as of May 15th 2020, just over 3.5 million lbs of West Coast Pacific Halibut has been harvested compared to 6.3 million lbs harvested during the same time last year.

El Nino Statistics

Here's what Tradex Seafood Purchaser Rob McNutt has to say about the current Halibut market conditions.

Halibut efforts have been light. Fisherman are saying the Candian fishery is especially slow and there have been issues ‘finding fish’. The fresh market is slow at best. Most processors are buying/processing hand to mouth. This market continues to be unstable with ground prices bouncing up and down.

For years now, West Coast Pacific Halibut has been struggling to compete with the less expensive Canadian Atlantic Halibut but is now also having to compete with the increasing imports of Halibut caught in Russia and processed in China.

Although Farmed Atlantic Halibut cannot be compared to Wild Halibut, we would like to note that earlier this year National Fisherman reported that fresh farmed Atlantic halibut was spotted for sale at $9.99/lb at a Costco near Seattle.

We reached out to the International Pacific Halibut Commission for any comments on all this but were not given a response at time of filming.

Current Halibut Harvest

--- Moving onto Pacific Cod and Alaska's "A" Season fishery just wrapped up harvesting over 93,000 metric tonnes while over in Russia, just 63,000 metric tonnes of P. Cod has been harvested equating to about 60 percent of Alaska's 2020 TAC and 35 percent of Russia's 2020 TAC harvested.

As for 2021 TAC's for Pacific Cod, Alaska's will be reduced to about 112,000 metric tonnes whereas Russia is set to increase their P. Cod TAC to just over 212,000 metric tonnes.

Pacific Cod continues to be sold at big box stores and is still in high demand where this is for once and twice frozen Cod, treated and non-treated.

Recent raw materials pricing out of China range from $2600/MT for Russian FAS Trawl, $3000/MT for Russian Longline and Alaska FAS Trawl, and $3500/MT for Alaska Longline.

For the North American markets this translates to about $1.20/lb, $1.35/lb, and $1.60/lb respectively.

Current Pacific Cod Harvest

--- Moving onto Pollock and latest NOAA Fisheries landing reports show that over 697,000 metric tonnes of Alaskan Pollock harvested while over in Russia over 1.06 million metric tonnes have been harvested equating to roughly 45 percent of Alaskas's Pollock TAC harvested and 58 percent of Russia's Pollock TAC harvested.

As for 2021 TAC's for Pollock, Alaska and Russia are set to see a slight increase to 1.58 million and 1.97 million metric tonnes respectively.

As foodservice is set to start back up soon, our recommendation is to look into Chem Free Pollock Loins for it's versatility, price point, consistency, and all the qualities a chem free product delivers.

Current Pollock Harvest

--- Lastly, since Salmon is on everyone's mind these days, here is a compact update.

The Copper River Salmon fishery opened May 14th with the traditional "First of the Season" Copper River King Salmon Fillets advertised at Pike Place Market for $74.99/lb usd however prices were also noted to be seen at other fish counters at $38.00/lb.

2019 grounds price for Copper River Kings was around $10.00/lb whereas the 2020 grounds price has been reported at $6 to $6.50/lb.

We suspect pricing to drop over the next 3 weeks and as we get closer to June 20th to 25th the lower the price will be.

There is a lot going on right now with fisheries and there is still some uncertainty due to COVID.

Our recommendation again is to not wait for the market to normalize before making your inventory purchases, you should be planning and making your purchasing needs now.

Talk to us at Tradex Foods about your seafood needs.

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