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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 683 | AIRED 03/25/2024

Snow Crab Update: Largest Fishery to Start Soon, Prices May Trend Upward for 2024

**UPDATE** (03/25/2024 08:00 PST) - Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced early Monday morning (March 25) that it has set Newfoundland and Labrador's 2024 Snow Crab total allowable catch at 57,568 metric tons - this is a 5.2% increase compared to the previous year's of 54,727 MT

March 25th, 2024 - The start of the world's largest Snow Crab fishery is nearing around mid-April, although catch limits for the 3 Canadian fishing zones remain pending.

Preliminary discussions suggest a potential reduction of nearly 10,000 metric tonnes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence's quota, contrasting last year's figures.

Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s leading Snow Crab producing area, contributing upwards of 50,000 metric tonnes annually the past 2 seasons.

In recent years, Canada consecutively produced upwards of 90,000 metric tonnes for the global markets, with the U.S. being a significant importer, a demand unlikely to wane, especially amidst the U.S. sanctions on Russian seafood imports.

Snow Crab pricing in the North American markets stayed quite low throughout 2023. A shortage in Canadian supply, combined with the Russian seafood ban, may lead to upward price pressure.

Snow Crab Update

Moving onto the other Snow Crab fisheries, Norway’s season just ended with over 9700 metric tonnes harvested - possibly an all-time-high for that fishery.

Russia’s total allowable catch is on par with previous years, with around 30,000 metric tonnes for the Far East, and 15,000 for the Barents Sea.


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China continues to be a very strong market for Russian Crab, following Japan and South Korea as also strong and open markets for the Russian supply.

In Alaska, the Snow Crab fishery stayed closed for a second consecutive year, and if they do re-open, we will know by October as this fishery operates through the fall and winter.

Keep tuned-in to our weekly updates as it’s anyone’s guess when Fisheries and Oceans Canada will confirm catch limits and openings.

On-top of which, negotiations between Union and snow crab producers in Newfoundland have been strained over crab pricing, with the union advocating for higher prices and industry reforms to allow outside buyers, aiming to introduce more competition.

Snow Crab Update

Failed negotiations led to a six-week delay in opening this fishery last year.

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