World Politics and Global Warming are making our headlines this month!The United States imported from China $21.5 Billion in seafood during 2017.  China is a huge processor of frozen seafood from around the world.  They also have a growing hunger for high-quality seafood from the U.S. like lobster, wild salmon, scallops, dungeness crab, and king crab and have been willing to pay higher prices driving the market up in recent years.  But with that said, U.S. exports are only a quarter of imports at $5.4 Billion in 2017 (NOAA).  Political trade wars are very complicated and could have a huge effect on pricing.  There is talk of a 25% tariff that China has imposed on Pacific Northwest Seafood exports, but it is too early to know the facts and effects of this political battle.

The U.S. imports more than 90% of the seafood we consume.  Why ?  Prices are cheaper in other countries.  What’s wrong with this?  We have great seafood right here in America!  Two of the United States major imports are Farmed Salmon, and Farmed Shrimp.  Right now, you can make a choice to change this.  It is wild salmon season in the Pacific Northwest and they would love to have your business, as do we! We will have Wild Sockeye and Wild King Salmon thru September, and Wild Coho into October.  Also, Bristol Bay had a great harvest of wild sockeye this year! We anticipate a surplus of frozen PBO Sockeye for the winter months at a great price.  Frozen Gulf Shrimp prices from Louisiana and Texas are low right now! Gulf shrimp are not available peeled or deveined, but for a little extra effort your customers will taste the difference!

In other Politics, the International Game Fish Association gets a big win for recreational billfish.  House Bill 4528 was signed by Donald on August 2nd, 2018 amending the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012.  The law states that no billfish can enter into trade or be sold in the continental U.S.  The Act also bans the importation of billfish into the continental U.S.  The new amendment closes a loophole that has allowed Hawaii and other Pacific territories to ship billfish to the U.S. mainland.  From now on Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Spearfish or Billfish will only be available in the Hawaiian Islands and will not be available from Northeast Seafood.

Hawaiian billfish are 86’d, and Hurricane Lane is headed for the Big Island.  This may tighten up what’s available from hawaii in the coming weeks but after the storms settle Hawaii will continue to offer exceptional seafood: Opah, Ono, Onaga Snapper (limited), Yellowfin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, and Albacore Tuna.  Please support our Hawaiian fisherman during what may become a very difficult time.

Most of us are aware that Global Warming is not a myth.  You’d be lucky if you did not have some sort of hail damage this year in Colorado.  Wild fires continue to get bigger and bigger every year creating smoke and inhalation risks.  The oceans also have increased variances in water temperatures that have temporarily shut down several oyster and clam farmers on both the East and West Coast.

Manilla Clams are the most affected by the warm waters of the west coast.  We anticipate limited to no availability till mid-September.  A great substitute are cockle clams from the cold waters of New Zealand!  We are also bringing in Coromandel Oysters from New Zealand as a excellent cold water oyster!

Halibut season ends in November, so don’t take it off the menu yet!  We are at a regular seasonal shift when most halibut fisherman switch gears to join the wild salmon harvest.  This creates a shortage of Alaskan halibut and an increase in pricing.  After wild salmon season is over, there often becomes a surplus of Halibut and a lowering of prices.  We can’t do too much complaining though, this year’s Halibut pricing has been fantastic compared to years past!

Black cod, or sablefish have a soft and succulent white flesh that retains moisture and captures flavors when cooked.  We are receiving a consistent supply of Black Cod and anticipate this to continue till late fall.

East Cost Black Seabass have been available.  Black Seabass average 1-2# and are day boat caught, making for an exceptional sushi grade or cooked fish.  Black Seabass regulations are managed daily and fishing can be shut down without warning. Take advantage of this great fish while available!

Lobster prices have been on the rise but should hold firm as summer soft lobster season ends, and new shells harden.  Hard shelled lobsters that Northeast Seafood purchases are always at a premium price, but as we move into the fall a larger quantity of these high-quality lobsters become available.

Bang Island Mussels from Maine are a premium farmed mussel with a larger fill of meat per shell than a traditional PEI mussel.  Give these premium Mussels a try! Check out their feature this months featured supplier: http://northeastseafood.com/featured-supplier/

Bluefin Tuna season is now.  We have a limited offering of rod and reel caught Bluefin Tuna from the Gulf of Maine.  These are highly regulated tuna, available in a very limited quantity.   The average size fish is 250 pounds.  If interested in purchasing a whole fish, please let us know.

Thank you for taking the time to read our seafood market report.  We hope that your experiences with Northeast Seafood brings you closer to the Ocean.  We encourage you to put a fork of delicious seafood into someone’s mouth (especially if they say they don’t like seafood), share your seafood knowledge with others, and enjoy the light healthy proteins our farms and oceans have to offer.

Chad Pettrone
Sustainability Director

Northeast Seafood