Seafood This Week: Monday, October 28, 2019

Seafood This Week: Monday, October 28, 2019

ATLANTIC SALMON PRICES SPIKE THIS WEEK! Due to street riots in Santiago and a state of emergency being declared by the government in Chile, Atlantic salmon shipments are getting delayed and market supply is tightening quickly. There are also extreme labor shortages at the plants (workers on strike) combined with a holiday in Chile this week, the stage has been set for the first increase (over 10%) in salmon prices in a while.

VENEZUELAN MARKET TUMBLES BRINGING WELCOME PRICE RELIEF ON FRESH CRABMEAT – As in previous years, the resumption of fresh crabmeat production out of Lake Maracaibo Venezuela forces plenty of fresh crabmeat onto an already sluggish market. The result is predictable with prices falling around 10% to start the week. Do your best to promote the sale of crabcakes over the next month or so. The market should remain sloppy and undervalued until just before Thanksgiving.

LAND BASED SALMON FARMS SET TO DISRUPT ENTIRE SALMON INDUSTRY OVER THE NEXT DECADE – That is the conclusion of Rabobank, a Netherland’s based global leader in food and agriculture financing. The report identified over 50 land based “closed recirculating aquaculture” (RAS) projects underway around the world in various stages of completion. The total output of the projects combined is over 800 million pounds annually! A total of 6 projects are being built in the US, with the largest, a BILLION dollar bet called Atlantic Sapphire, located in Homestead Florida, one hour south of Miami. The state of Maine is also supporting the land-based aquaculture industry by granting permits for leases alongside the Penobscot River. The company, Whole Oceans, is breaking ground on a $180 MILLION facility this year. You should take the time to read and learn about RAS systems. Eventually most of our seafood will be grown on land with this technology.

2.6 MILLION FARMED SALMON DIE IN NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR IN LATE SUMMER – In yet another example of why salmon should not be farmed in open cage aquaculture in the ocean, Northern Harvest, a Norwegian owned company (Mowi), is cleaning up a disaster in Fortune Bay Newfoundland where 2.6 MILLION salmon died in late August and early September. Surface seawater temperatures reached 21 degrees Celsius (69.8F) and oxygen levels plummeted in and around the cages of salmon causing widespread mortality. This event is akin to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska years ago. In some places in Fortune Bay NL, they said dead farmed Atlantic salmon were 50 feet thick on the bottom. If fish were grown on land in tanks, you would not have this problem.

“BIOCEMENT” MAY HELP RESTORE CHESAPEAKE BAY OYSTER REEFS! The University Maryland Center for Environmental Science is working on a project to develop a cement like substance (to be used as a potential larval oyster setting substrate) by combining a certain bacterium and sand. Sporosarcina pasteurii, can produce calcium carbonate crystals, the main ingredient in oyster shells. These crystals when combined with sand form a cement like substance known a “biocement”. Studies have shown that oyster larvae “settle” (attach themselves) at a higher rate to biocement than any other substrate EXCEPT real oyster shells. And that is a big deal given that the availability of real oyster shells is the biggest limiting factor in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Bay oyster reef restoration program.

SCIENTISTS HAVE DIRE PREDICTIONS FOR MAINE’S LOBSTER INDUSTRY OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS – The Maine lobster industry’s “glory days” may be coming to a close according to a new scientific study. The study predicts lobster landings in the state of Maine will fall 20-40% over the next 5 years. But if one looks back at the history of Maine’s lobster catches, fishermen caught only 20 million pounds per year for decades until about 1990. But starting in 1990 – and for reasons that are still debated – the catch began to increase dramatically, surpassing 30 million pounds in 1991, 50 million in 1999 and 80 million 10 years later. The catch has exceeded 100 million pounds every year since 2011, hitting an astronomical 132.6 million lbs in 2016 before sliding downward to 119.6 million last year. This year the slide is continuing and projected to be well under 100 million possibly less than 90 million! This is all coming at a time we have record lobster tail prices coming off years of record harvest. 7-8 & 8-10 oz tails are already over $30 per pound and there will be very few around until just before Xmas when the first shipments of tails come down from Canada off their November 30th opening of Area 33 & 34. 

WHAT ARE THE “VALUE” FISH THIS WEEK?

The first fish I would recommend is dayboat Nova Scotian halibut – fillets are under $15. Next would be local wild rock fillets cut from 2/4 lb. fish (under $13). Next would be North Atlantic sword (under $11) – LOCAL hand cut jumbo fluke (under $11) is an excellent choice for menus now and is in great supply all winter  – Mediterranean Royal bass fillets are under $12 – Point Judith Rhode Island monk fillets are under $8 – Butterfly Bronzino are under $9 – and large dayboat Mahi fillets from Guatemala are also under $11.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT OUR GREAT SELECTION (30 varieties) OF OYSTERS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY! From Wild Ass Ponies out of Assateague Bay Md to Coromandel Bay Oysters from New Zealand, we have whatever you may need to keep your customers coming back for more! Ask your sales rep for our daily oyster sheet.  

Leave a comment