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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 538 | AIRED 05/17/2021

Buyer’s Update: Salmon, Halibut, Cod, Pollock, California Market Squid

May 17th, 2021--- This week we provide General Buyer's Update for Salmon, Halibut, Cod, Pollock and California Market Squid.

--- It should come as no surprise that we continue to see shortages on numerous value-added frozen products and raw materials.

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Cod loins and fillets seem to be causing buyers the biggest headaches while we are seeing this trend in other species as well - and with limited inventory, comes upward pressure on prices.

However, there is an end in sight as China has begun quoting prices and plans to start up production soon.

--- For Salmon, inventories remain short and will continue to remain short until the new season starts.

There is an extreme lack of Chum Salmon that has put a supply strain on all other species of wild Salmon.

Chum Salmon Recommendation

It is in my opinion that buyers need to stay extra vigilant to qualify any wild Salmon offers they are receiving.

Offers on fillets or H&G that I have seen, appear to be questionable quality.

Our recommendation is to get your Chum Salmon program in order, starting with inquiries into what volumes and sizes you will require this year.

Chum Salmon is going to move fast early in the season.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has forecasted for a 15.2 million Chum Salmon season however with last season only achieving 44 percent of the forecast, it's anyone's guess how much Chum Salmon Alaska will produce this year.

Halibut Harvest

--- For Halibut, demand in the fresh market is strong, and fresh Halibut continues to dominate sales.

Dock prices are currently about $2 per lb more than last year, and in order for processors to maintain their margins, this will likely put the fletch market at over $15.50/lb for a 1-3lb fletch.

Historically we have seen processors freeze Halibut after Mother's day, however given the strong demand for fresh Halibut, this could potentially delay production of frozen Halibut.

Over 4 million lbs of Halibut have been harvested on the West Coast this season producing at slightly better pace that last year.

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--- For Pacific Cod, 9lb+ larged sized CBO Cod looks to have hit a snag and vendors seem to be having issues moving product.

Fillets continue to be trickling down from Alaska at what seems like a snail's pace while multiple vendors are claiming to be sold out.

Our recommendation is to secure any Pacific Cod offers you receive over the next few weeks.

About 78,000 metric tonnes of Pacific Cod have been harvested in Alaska this season, representing about 69 percent of the Total Allowable Catch for the 2021 season.

--- For Pollock, the same issues that have plagued Cod continue to slow sales and availability on Pollock.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently issued a contract to bid on 8.325 million lbs of Alaskan Pollock fillets.

They also requested 6.7 million lbs of the Pollock to be packed into 2x10lb bags for the USDA’s household distribution program.

California Market Squid Update

FPollock offers are limited so our recommendation is to secure any Pollock offers you receive over the next few weeks.

About 663,000 metric tonnes of Pollock have been harvested in Alaska this season, representing about 42 percent of the Total Allowable Catch for 2021.

--- For California Market Squid, it's looking like a very promising season.

With foodservice making a comeback in America, a large harvest of California Market Squid should come as welcomed news for the industry.

Since the start of the 2021/22 season in April, 17.2 million lbs had already been harvested surpassing the pace at the same time last year where 9.6 million lbs were harvested.

La Nina conditions are anticipated for the year and the last time this fishery saw La Nina conditions was back in 2017 and 2016 where 137 and 81 million lbs of Market Squid were harvested respectively.


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