CANADA - There could be a glimmer of hope for Atlantic Cod Stocks from the Canadian Maritimes. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute has designed a new fishing net to reduce Cod bycatch while fishing for flatfish, which could alleviate pressure on this fishery in 2017, reports Kyla Ganton in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.
According to the New England Fishery Management Council, the 2016 quotas for George's Banks Cod are 1200 metric tonnes for 2016 and 500 metric tonnes for Cod in the Gulf of Maine.
In an article posted by the NOAA last month, optomism for the health of these stocks are low due to warming waters and bycatch concerns.
Many East Coast processors, however, feel that the fishery is in remission and hope for increased total allowable catches before re-building infrastructure from the moratorium in the early 1990s.
For now, fillet production has been predominately labour intensive hand cutting, tightening profit margins considerably.
Pricing last month on Canadian Atlantic Cod was around $3.25 per pound for 12-32oz skinless fillets caught in Newfoundland, and $3.15 per pound for shatterpacked bones 4-8oz fillets in Boston.
The Fishery is faced with adverse weather conditions at the moment - full fishing efforts should resume in Spring 2017 at which point we will have a clearer outlook on pricing.
--- Another interesting note on this fishery - Scientists are now pushing for increased commercial Atlantic Cod quotas because of Snow Crab stocks in the Maritimes.
Canadian Snow Crab competes for the same bottom fish feed that Atlantic Cod does, so rising Cod populations could jeopardize Snow Crab stock survival.
Canada is the world's largest producer of Snow crab, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the global supply and Snow crab prices are already uncommonly high this season.
5-8oz Snow Crab clusters from Newfoundland typically hover around the mid-high $5.00 range, but have steadily risen for the past 9 months to between $7.50 and $8.00 per pound in Boston.
After a season in short supply and increasing predators, we could see prices firming into the new year.