The current seafood market offers difficulty in finding value.  Swordfish season has yet to pick up, Tuna fisheries have had a recent downfall in supply but soon bounced back, Wild Salmon catches have lower volume than predictions, Farmed Salmon prices are leveling off at a higher than “normal” price, Large Domestic Scallop prices will remain high and potentially go higher, lobster prices are also high…sometimes the news isn’t always good, but it’s important to know why prices are up so that you can explain the cost increase that ultimately has to be paid by your customers.

  • Halibut is a great item for your menu during this transitional season between the heat of the summer and the cooling waters of fall. Halibut season continues to be stable from Alaskan and Nova Scotia fisheries.
  • Shrimp markets are stable in and a great value right now, which is a very different story from years past when the EMS and RMS diseases were effecting eastern Asian farms. Wild shrimp fisheries are also showing good value from our Domestic Gulf Fisheries, Ecuador, Mexico, and our newest addition Australia King Prawns (avail till October).
  • New Bedford Sea Scallops continue to be expensive compared to historic numbers, especially for the largest of sizes U8 and U10. The fishery is an annual quote that begins in March and has already harvested 80% of the quota.  Large Scallops will likely be very expensive or not available this holiday season.  If you’re looking for an alternative to these high prices, try stepping down a size to the U12 and lower, or try our refreshed Japanese Hokkaido scallops that are white, plump, and sear very nicely.
  • Crab Leg markets are firming fast as inventories are low for King and Snow Crab Legs. We are buying premium Snow crab from Zone 12 of Canadian fisheries, sought after for their extra sweet flavor that some prefer over red king crab.
  • Lobster season currently cannot meet demands as the Prince Edward Island fishery came up short of projections by 20% for the May-June season. Whole cooked lobster is being sold to Asian markets that are developing the premium taste of lobster. The continued domestic craze for lobster rolls keeps demands high for lobster claw and knuckle meat, hitting new highs of over $30 per #.   Lobster tails surprisingly are not as effected by these demands and remain consistently priced.  We have entered into the Northumberland strait fishing season that started August 10th and will continue for 60 days – most of our live lobsters will come from this area, and hopefully we see a great catch to help push down those live lobster prices!
  • East Coast Fisheries are starting to produce some limited specialty fish. Fisheries are being managed on a day by day basis, so the supply is not consistent, but the quality of the fish are excellent: Soft Shell Crab, Striped Bass, Day Boat Caught Black Bass, Fluke, Steamer Clams, and Sardines are all excellent this time of year!
  • Wild Salmon season is in transition from Sockeye to Coho. King Salmon from the Columbia River area of Washington and Oregon are becoming more steadily available.  The King Salmon and Coho fisheries are net and troll fisheries.  Net caught fish are without head and are offered at a lower cost that the hook & line caught troll fish.  Troll fish are handled better when caught, bled and iced immediately, offering a head on fish that a higher quality at a slightly higher price.  We hope that the Coho fisheries should take us thru September, and the King Salmon fishery can often go into the winter months with limited availability.
  • Bluenose Butterfish has been available from the cold winter waters of New Zealand. Bluenose butterfish is also called Antarctic Butterfish and is an excellent sushi fish.
  • Wild Cobia available in Limited Supplies
  • California White Seabass fishery recently crashed as water temperatures spiked, we are hoping the fishing becomes available again soon.
  • Mussels are excellent this time of year and we have a plethora of options: Premium rope Harvested Bang Island Mussels, Wild Extra Large Chatham Mass Mussels, Salt Spring Mussels from British Columbia, Penn Cove Mussels from Washington and Johnny Blue Mussels from Maine…this is a great time to let us know you’d like to put one of these specialty mussels on your menu!

When prices go up, fisherman are paid more for their work and if that trend continues, more fisherman will hit the waters and eventually drive prices back down.  So, right now we are supporting those “life-long” fisherman who are more driven by ocean currents and moon phases than the price of seafood.  Those are the men and women who deserve to be paid a premium price!

 Chad Pettrone
Sustainability Director
Northeast Seafood