Jeff Davis, Blue Harvest Come Full Circle with Purchase of High Liner Scallop Plant in New Bedford
High Liner will sell its New Bedford scallop business and fish processing plant to Blue Harvest Fisheries for $8 million, plus some additional amounts for scallop inventory. This is a full circle return to New Bedford for Blue Harvest's owner Jeff Davis. The plant and dock owned by High Liner once belonged to Frionor USA. Davis, who at that time was a key executive with American Seafoods, along with Bernt Bodal, CEO, bought the plant from Frionor, and established American Seafoods in New Bedford. Blue Harvest, which has acquired 15 Scallop Vessels and other property in New Bedford and Virginia, is near their maximum vessel ownership of 18 licenses, and with this plant is well positioned to increase their market share with purchases of scallops as well. High Liner will continue to offer scallops to its customers through an ongoing supply agreement with Blue Harvest.
A Rabobank report on Brazil's aquaculture sector says the country is in position to increase its tilapia production 10 percent per year and reach 490,000 tons in annual output by 2020. Rabobank said the growth of domestic aquaculture is partly due to Brazilian grain production, since abundant supply and poor logistics for export are keeping prices low. Meanwhile, a local freshwater fish called tambaqui is also becoming more cultivated, and total tonnage should reach 330,000 tons by 2020 said Rabobank.
In other news, North American demand for premium quality lobster meat has stoked interest for high pressurized processing (HPP) equipment among operators. The technology uses extremely high pressured water to separate lobster meat from the shell and boasts a higher meat yield percentage compared to traditional processing systems. Lobster meat demand is at historic levels with wholesale market prices for dry Canadian claw and knuckle meat approaching $30 per pound according to Urner Barry.
Meanwhile, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said seven dealers and 14 vessels delivered 2.7 million pounds of squid between mid-April and June 5, one of the highest season landings in the state’s history. This year was similar to another post-El Nino year, 1984, when Oregon landings approached 1.8 million pounds. Squid prices to fishermen averaged 40 cents per pound this year and were as high as 50 cents per pound.
Finally, Maine reopened the of Gulf of Maine to menhaden fishing after an unusual spike in fishing activity for the bait fish prompted officials to close the fishery earlier this month. Initial landings reports suggested the state's quota was reached. The sudden interest in menhaden, or pogy, is because of a herring shortage, which is used as bait among Maine's lobster industry. However, officials reopened the fishery and instructed fishermen that they must limit fishing to Tuesday-Thursday, and net less than 120,000 pounds a week.
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