Mahi Coming Off Menus With 2016/17 Season a Bust, US Inventories Limited and Market at Record Highs
Mahi is starting to come off of restaurant menus in the US this year since the 2016/17 fishing season in Central and South America was a bust, which has limited inventories in the US market, pushed frozen wholesale markets to record levels and sent fresh prices to abnormally high prices for this time of the year. Fresh and frozen mahi supplies are down from a combination of water temperature-induced production problems from major Central and South American suppliers and a hike in FDA inspections and rejections of mahi in 2016. Frozen mahi prices are now at record highs, while fresh prices are trending well above averages for this time of the year.
Major Chinese scallop producer and exporter Zhangzidao posted improved revenues in 2016. The company took several steps to turn around its business last year including improving its scallop production and sales to domestic markets. The company also to streamlined the management of its operations and slimmed down its business goals to focus more on production rather than distribution logistics.
Meanwhile, Clearwater Seafoods' sales grew 21 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year. Clearwater said its sales and earnings were positively impacted by strong prices for scallops and higher sales volumes for clams, lobster, langoustine, whelks and crab. However, Clearwater said this growth was mostly from its acquisition of Macduff Shellfish's operations in late 2015. Otherwise, the company's sales fell short of its target. "Excluding Macduff, Clearwater's core business financial performance was below expectations as the company felt the combined effects of shortages of supply in northern shrimp and sea scallops," said Ian Smith, Chief Executive Officer.
In other news, Japan's inventory of salted kazunoko (herring roe) carried over from 2016 is up 10 percent from a year before according to the Fisheries Agency's cold-store seafood distribution statistics. The agency said this was the highest increase rate on record.
Finally, the New England Fishery Management Council’s scallop committee will meet to discuss how catch reports might be compiled more quickly and how to collect better scientific data to estimate the number of scallops in the northern gulf. The committee first will work to identify issues that need to be addressed before the council considers making changes to fishing restrictions for each class of vessel. Some of Maine's small boat scallopers say current regulations favor unlimited quotas for the big boat sector and that they are getting squeezed out of the fishery.
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