Alaska Closes 2016/17 Bering Sea Bairdi Crab Season For Low Biomass; Opilio Decision Still Pending
The ADF&G announced the closure to the Bering Sea’s bairdi crab fishery for the 2016/17 season because of low stock abundance. The closure is not much of a surprise at this point since evidence of a subpar female bairdi crab biomass was first reported at the end of August. Alaska’s crabbers will now have to wait two years for the commercial bairdi fishery to reopen. Management protocols require that the stock meet minimum biomass thresholds for two consecutive years before the fishery can resume. Alaska’s opilio or snow crab season is now the last commercial crab fishery announcement pending release before the season starts on October 15. Here again, summer survey results were not positive for the fishery. At the very least Alaska’s snow crab fishery is expected to open under a reduced quota. It is also a very real possibility that the fishery is closed outright.
The FDA's total number of seafood refusals in September was the lowest monthly figure of the year in 2016, the second straight year that September figures represented a monthly low. However, this year’s generally higher rate of rejections continued as monthly and year-to-date figures remain well above 2015 levels. Over half of this year’s rejections are attributed to filth in the product. There is actually a notable balance in the number of rejections across the top five species in 2016, which is unlike last year when Malaysian shrimp was a key driver.
In other news, reports of delivery issues among E-commerce stores selling fresh seafood in China are starting to surface. Specifically, issues with maintaining an effective cold supply chain have been reported. This means E-commerce retailers have been ineffective at preventing fresh seafood products from spoiling before they make it to consumers. Live lobsters have reportedly arrived dead, while spoiled oyster deliveries have been reported by Chinese consumers.
Meanwhile, Russia is planning to significantly increase pollock processing in its Far East region in an effort to compete in global markets. The Russian government plans to allocate funds to build modern trawlers and onshore processing plants. This focus on higher pollock production coincides with Russia's 10-year quota renewal process, which is scheduled to happen in 2018.
Finally, China needs to focus on increasing domestic demand for tilapia in order to absorb expected production increases. China expects its tilapia output to rise about 3 percent in 2017. However, the US --the top export market for Chinese tilapia-- is already said to be saturated with tilapia supplies. In order to boost sales and clear inventories, CAPPMA says the tilapia industry must develop domestic demand to move product in 2017 and 2018.
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