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Large-Size Pollock Fillets Still Scarce In Alaska

15 September 2016

US - Directed fishing for the Pollock C season in the Gulf of Alaska opened August 25 with increased allocations rolled over from B season, reports Kyla Ganton in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

As of September 3, 80,700 metric tonnes have been harvested across all regions of the Gulf, about 33.8 per cent of the quota.

Buyers were hard-pressed for larger fillets after the B season ended with 97 per cent of the catch producing a 2-4oz IQF fillet and only about 2 and half per cent in the 4-6oz size range.

Current catch sizes are marginally better now, as boats primarily target Pollock during unsuccessful Cod fishing, with closer to 15 per cent of the Pollock catch suitable for a 4-6oz fillet.

Larger sized fillets may not be avaliable until closer to January or February, caution many West Coast vendors.

4-6oz shatterpack alaskan fillets, if you can find them, were at $2.55/lb USD in Seattle earlier this month.

A season inventories of 2-4oz shatterpack fillets can still be found at $1.85/lb FOB Seattle as well.

Most vendors report pricing trending slightly upwards due to inventory holdings and strong domestic demand, but a better outlook will have to wait until A season begins in February.

--- The shortage in larger sized Alaskan fillets throughout the summer strengthened demand for twice frozen fillets, specifically in the Midwest and East Coast of the USA.

In China, processors report limited avaliability on raw materials right now, even from Russia where boats have some inventories in bonded warehouses.

Russian pollock is all frozen at sea but sizes are small this season, averaging 200-300 and 300-500 grams in the round, which produces very small fillets of under 2oz.

One of the biggest Pollock producers in China has some production space avaialable before Chinese new year closures, but they feel pricing could climb after the new year as cold storage costs accumulate.

Our advice for buyers leading up to the new year is to buy ahead of your needs as inventory will tighten and prices will remain high with potential to rise.

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