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Argentine Hake Continues to Come up Short

16 June 2016

US - Argentine Hake continues to come up short in the market, as buyers offer smaller sizes with precommitments selling weeks before containers even land in North America, reports Robert Reierson in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

Current harvests along the Argentine Coast are 108,000 metric tonnes, a minor increase of 9 percent over this time last year.

We watched prices rise last summer, reaching and maintaining a peak price of between $1.90 to $2.00 / lb for a 4-6oz skinless shatterpack fillet.

The Fishery is in an Improvement Project for eventual MSC certification, which will likely boost demand.

--- The very first MSC certified Hake fishery was actually off the coast of South Africa, and just re-certified this year for the 3rd time.

Annual South African harvests of 145,000 metric tonnes are mainly exported to France, Portugal, and most importantly Spain.

The USA imported 920,000 lbs of frozen hake fillets from South Africa last year.

--- Hake, or, Whiting is harvested domesically too, in a fishery split between Canadian and American allocations.

The overall preliminary quota of 430,000 tonnes for 2016 includes a 13 percent increase over last year.

According to Chris Grandin at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian harvests are up 6,500 tonnes this year, over last.

Biomass estimates show a projected increase of nearly 10 percent for the stocks in this fishery in the next two years.

Pacific Whiting has had price stability for the past six months, with Ocean Run Block frozen HG&T Whiting around $0.65 / lb in Vancouver.

All indicators point to healthy harvests this year with steady pricing ahead.

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