European Whole Salmon Floods US and Cuts into Canada's Market Share
European salmon producers, beset with sea lice problems, appear to be harvesting fish early and flooding the US market with unusual amounts of smaller whole fish. This has had an impact on Canadian producers, who normally dominate the whole fish market in the US. while demand for salmon in the US and other global markets has been exceptionally high, this particular rise in European shipments to the US market has not been totally demand driven. Rather, it appears US buyers have opted to import more whole salmon from Europe in 2017 because the surge in available supplies lowered prices to competitive levels compared to Canadian product.
More than 750,000 pounds of West Coast rockfish have been landed in roughly a month under an exempted fishing permit, creating a small boon for fishermen and markets. The harvest included only four Chinook salmon and no catches of green sturgeon or eulachon smelt, both ESA-listed species. Five vessels made 17 trips since the beginning of March. Oregon Trawl Commission Director Brad Pettinger said the success of a midwater rockfish fishery + something common when he was fishing more than 20 years ago + is a validation of sacrifices made since 2000. "We're on the verge of placing the last piece of the puzzle to rebuilding this fishery," Pettinger said. "It's been a lot of work over the last decade-plus."
In other news, we run a Letter to the Editor from Garrett Fine, the cooking business unit manager for Laitram Machinery who disagrees with claims from our April 18 article that said some in Japan think steam cooking snow crabs hurts the quality of the product. "Myself and my colleagues have literally been in the plant with one of the “Big 3” Japanese buyers, have feedback from our customers’ other Japanese buyers, as well as the plants’ QC department and owners, Canadian, and US buyers. The overwhelming feedback is that the product quality is better; in fact, they say the product texture, color, taste, and extractability are all much better," Fine writes.
Meanwhile, Russia may face a shortage of salmon this year, due to the lack of supplies from Norway and the inability of producers from the Faroe Islands, Chile and Iceland to fill the vacant niche according to federal fishery officials at Rosrybolovstvo. Among the issues causing the shortages is the inability of the domestic industry and producers in South America to replace imports from more than 500 Norway salmon producers and importers, which were banned from exporting fish to the Russia at the beginning of 2015 due to sanctions.
Finally, the New England Fishery Management Council has initiate changes that will attempt to reduce the conflict between large and small boat scallopers in the Northern Gulf of Maine. The management council says there is a "critical need to initiate surveys and develop additional tools to better manage the area." It also says the new rules could include limiting some boats from fishing in the area until the total scallop population can be more accurately determined.
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