THIS WEEK IN SEAFOOD 4/29/2019

THIS WEEK IN SEAFOOD 4/29/2019

1. 7 MILLION POUNDS A WEEK OF LIVE LOBSTER!! – Large areas off of northern New Brunswick and most of Prince Edward Island can set pots tomorrow, April 30, and then the onslaught begins. Estimates are between 75-80 million pounds of live lobster will be landed in the next 8-10 weeks in Atlantic Canada waters only!!! The catch, in general, is on the smaller side – chix, quarters & halves mostly — we should finally see some relief in smaller lobster tail prices 3-4’s, 4-5’s and 5-6’s – but 7-8’s and larger tails will remain tight until Cape Bretton opens in June – live trade pricing on CQH will continue to fall over the next few weeks also

FRESH CAROLINA SHRIMP SEASON HAS STARTED – The good thing about GLOBAL WARMING is that Carolina white shrimp never leave Carolina anymore !! Just off the beach in Beaufort North Carolina (pronounced BUFORTNC) shrimp boats are catching some beautiful fresh 21/25’s and a few 16’s. These are white shrimp and taste totally different than previously frozen shrimp. Try some for yourself and see

 STILL WAITING ON MOTHER NATURE TO START THE SOFT CRAB RUN IN THE OUTER BANKS – lots of little male peelers starting to shed – hotel primes (one on a Ritz cracker) and primes – bigger stuff (jumbos and whales) about a week away – plenty for Mother’s Day. Print the menus now!

CHESAPEAKE BAY BLUE CRABS INVADE SPAIN’S MEDITERRANEAN WATERS AND CONSIDERED INVASIVE -Apparently the Spaniards are cursing the hell out of this crustacean we care so much about here on the Chesapeake. The most likely scenario of how they got there is the free swimming larvae getting sucked up into the ballast of a freighter in Norfolk, who then crosses the Atlantic, enters the Mediterranean and proceeds to pump out the ballast hold and voila!!  Spanish blue crabs!! Spanish fishermen use fine mesh gill-nets to catch fresh cuttlefish and king prawns. If you have ever tried to untangle a mess of blue crabs from a gill-net, you know why those Spanish fishermen are cussin’ a blue streak! I think we should send them some Old Bay seasoning and eventually they will figure it out.

 EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF WILD ROCKFISH!! “The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) has unanimously voted to enact an emergency closure (of the recreational Trophy Rockfish season in Virginia waters only) because of worrisome new research about the health of the entire Atlantic coast wild rockfish population” according to Chesapeake Bay Magazine. This vote is a harbinger of things to come next year with an immediate 57% overall reduction in harvest mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). There will be fights over who gets cut (which user group – commercial, recreational fishermen & charter boat captains) and by how much. IF THE YOUNG OF THE YEAR INDEX (barometer of spawning success) DOES NOT IMPROVE IN 2019 & 2020, a full-scale moratorium is not off the table.

BIG JUMP THIS MONTH IN RAINBOW TROUT PRICING – The two major players in Idaho trout aquaculture, Clear Springs & Evaqua Farms, have signaled their intentions to raise prices in May. They claim to be not making money at current price levels. In fairness to them, they got hit hard by a virus last year that stunted fish growth and increased mortality dramatically. They brought in experts from around the world to try and solve this issue. Production levels have rebounded but I am sure their fixed costs are higher. Clearcut 8 oz fillets will break the $10 mark for the first time ever.

 VENEZUELAN FRESH HPP INCHING SLIGHTLY DOWNWARD – Another small drop in Venz jumbo pricing this week. Production is picking up slightly which is a good thing because demand is increasing also. No price movement expected on fresh HPP lump. Supply looks adequate right now for Mother’s Day.

LAST WEEK OF CHEAP LOCAL FLUKE FILLETS – Boats in various states along the Atlantic coast can bring in up to 4000 lbs. per day this week but next week it drops to 50 lbs. per day!! That will essentially dry up the supply and pricing is expected to skyrocket. As the saying goes, if you have to ask the price you cannot afford it.

 GLUT OF LOCAL FRESH CRABMEAT – What do you get when you have lots of local Chesapeake Bay picking crabs and lots of crab pickers ? Falling prices – we are well under $30 a pound sell price now – these guys (picking houses) are crying poor every time we tell them it needs to fall further – we will see what happens – a Monterey Bay announcement scheduled for May 6 has the potential to disrupt and distort the entire local market (according to the rumor mill).

MID NECKS AND TOP NECKS VERY SCARCE – It takes almost three years to grow a mid neck and supplies are very tight and will remain so for the foreseeable future. All top necks are wild caught and there is no big supplier of those in any state so we must “piece together” our supply on a daily basis. Clam prices jumped recently and have the potential to go up again.

 ATLANTIC SALMON: Easter and the other Spring holidays are behind us now and salmon production has no interruptions for the new future. Prices will begin to soften up next week as supplies recover.

ASC certification, what does this mean?

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council works to insure and promote responsible fish farming practices. They are a international non-profit organization working closely with the farmers to work responsibly. They also certify distributors and retailers to maintain the highest standards for their aquaculture products. ASC certification touches upon all aspects of the sustainability chain. Congressional Seafood is proud to have this certification. Leroy Seafood, our Norwegian salmon producer, is an ASC leader for innovative solutions to problems such as pollution of the seafloor, disease, pests, water quality, fish density and social responsibility to their employees. There is much more to our Norwegian salmon than its delicious flavor.

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