EP 567 | AIRED 12/06/2021
Holiday Season Buying: Dungeness over Snow Crab; Joe Biden Supply Chain Update
December 6th, 2021 --- This week we provide an all inclusive Dungeness Crab Update as the tri-state Dungeness fisheries from Washington to California actually opened on-time and together on December 1st, which will allow consumers to enjoy Dungeness throughout the holiday season instead of Snow Crab that we predict will dry up before Christmas.
--- Dungeness Crab for Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California all opened border-to-border on December 1st which is something that has not happened since the 2014/15 season.
Fishery managers had no hesitation opening the fisheries on-time after pre-season testing showed zero concerns for meat fill condition and domoic acid.
With the tri-state fisheries all opening 25 days before Christmas, and alongside the year-to-year Canadian fishery in British Columbia - retailers should expect to be offering up Dungeness throughout the holiday season instead of Snow Crab.
Buyers should be focusing on a Dungeness program for the holiday season as we firmly believe that Snow Crab will sell out before Christmas.
Our recommendation is to secure and stock up on your Dungeness Crab requirements now as all indications are that Dungeness will be going up in price.
At the retail level during the week of US Thanksgiving, prices were seen as high as USD $15/lb at Safeways to $19/lb at fish markets in California using imported Dungeness from Canada.
In Oregon, at the start of last year’s season, ex-vessel pricing in December 2020 averaged $5.17/lb and went all the way up to an average of $9.51/lb in May 2021.
Recent reports are that Hallmark Fisheries in Oregon kicked off a starting price of $5 per pound for Dungeness crab on December 1st.
Now over to Rochelle to cover the supply chain and holiday season buying, and Global Dungeness Harvest for the 2020/21 season.
--- On a quick note on the supply chain and the ramp up to holiday season buying, US President Joe Biden (on Nov 29th) met with retailer CEO’s (from Doug McMillon of Walmart to Meg Ham of Food Lion) in a roundtable meeting to discuss the Holiday Shopping Season.
Regarding holiday spending, President Biden can be seen saying “As we’re looking toward the holiday season, we feel it’s a lot more like the ones we had in the past,” “Consumer spending has recovered to where it was headed before the pandemic.”
Regarding the supply chain, President Biden can also be seen saying “while we’re all concerned about the supply chain, we have more inventory than we did a year ago and have the inventory that we need to be able to support the business. And we are seeing progress. The port and transit delays are improving.”
President Biden advised that the 2 key ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen a 40 percent plus drop in the number of long dwelling containers while Walmart’s CEO advised they have seen a 51 percent improvement in flow-through in the Southern California ports.
--- And lastly, we finish this report off with Global Dungeness Crab Harvest data for this past season. CHECK OUT OUR #SeaTheGood CAMPAIGN
Which Seeks To Spotlight Something “Good” Happening In The Seafood World As Opposed To Unfortunate News.
Globally Dungeness Harvest for the 2020/21 season is estimated to be around 53 million pounds - short about 20 million pounds from a harvest of 72.9 million pounds in the 2019/20 season.
Alaska, Oregon, and California all showed a lower harvest year compared to previous years.
In talking to Tim Novotny of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission he told us “Last season, the start was very herky-jerky. No one really went out until early January and then the crab were not there and a lot of the bigger guys moved on rather quickly. The north coast didn’t even get going until February. And then it played out that we were having one of those low landing years. It is a cyclical fishery and that happens.”
As California was having a bad year as well, Tim said “cash buyers were coming up and getting crab and taking it out of state to process or sell. So, crab that was already hard to find was getting more difficult by the day and demand was going up. And we ended up with an average price of $4.97/lb which beat the old record by quite a bit ($4.11 in 2014/15).”
When asked for their crystal ball projection for the 2021/22 season, their researcher ballparked a figure of 19 million pounds - but of course it will always be a bit of a wait and see scenario.
Oregon is typically the world’s largest Dungeness Crab producer in the industry.
California’s past season experienced one of the lowest statewide landings that has not been experienced in 20 years where the 2001/02 season saw 3.6 millions pounds landed.
In talking to Christy Juhasz, Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife about what causes these low harvest years, she advised “We don’t really know what causes the ups and downs, but we know they are part of the landings history for this fishery.”
“Ultimately, it's probably related to the available crab population and there are some effects of where crab move within their feeding grounds but also ocean/climate phenomena related to their successfully settling as baby crab after their 3-4 month time spent as larvae. It takes between 3-5 years for male crab to grow in the fishery and some larger production years are made up of multiple year classes 3-, 4- and 5-year olds contributing to overall crab catch.”
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