Pollock Roe Season May be Positive, but Traders Face a Lot of Uncertainty
The A Season pollock roe auction in Seattle has been set for March 14-16th and developments on the fishing grounds and in the market are giving buyers both cause for optimism, and some concern as well. On the market side, cutbacks in roe production last year, especially due to small fish size on the US side, have led to lower supplies in the market, and roe manufacturers are generally low on inventory and eager to buy. Japanese buyers think that the slight increase in TAC for the pollock A season will help increase the supply of roe. They are also encouraged by increased Russian quotas, stable stocks in Russia, and some indications of larger fish size in the Sea of Okhotsk. However, on the US side, fish sizes trended smaller. At the same time, the pollock fleet is constrained by chinook bycatch concerns. Additionally, there does appear to be a very mixed picture among roe processors in Japan, which means some companies could put in strong bids with others holding back at auction.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she plans to reverse a compromise that allowed for the limited use of commercial gillnets on the Columbia River in favor of an outright ban on the use of the gear. In a letter to Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair Michael Finley, Brown asked the commission to comply with state policy and with an agreement with Washington, which voted in January to end gillnetting in the main channel in two years and increase recreational fishers' portion of Chinook. This order overrides an alternative plan approved by the commission that opted to split the Columbia River chinook harvest between the recreational and commercial sectors 80/20, respectively,
In other news, China is changing from the largest global seafood exporter to the largest global seafood importer with full government support. This has significant implication for both fishing policy, where the government plans to restrict harvests, and for tariff policy, where the government has already reduced some seafood import tariffs and is likely to take further action in this area.
Meanwhile, a Reuters report confirmed that the toxic algae detected in 140,000 dead salmon smolt earlier this week is not located near salmon farms in Southern Chile where the salmon originated from. Rather, this particular strain has infested portions of shipping lanes used by producers. The salmon were infected during transport since boats recirculate ocean water into the tanks where the fish are stored during transport.
Finally, the Associated Press published a follow-up report to its September investigation that identified labor abuse commercial longliners in Hawaii. This time, the AP report says Hawaii appears to be violating its own rules that require commercial fishermen to obtain a state-issued fishing license. The AP said that the state is using voided landing permits to get workers a commercial fishing permit even though they have not lawfully entered the country.
Have a great weekend.
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