US - The Pacific Cod fishery opened on January 1 in the Gulf of Alaska and some processors have already begun offloading fish from their smaller boats, reports Kyla Ganton in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.
The Total allowable catch for 2017 is just over 62,000 metric tonnes down from 75,000 metric tonnes in 2016.
Raw materials were very short by the end of last year, with most Alaskan fish coming in as bycatch in limited volumes.
Last minute urgent demand for Frozen at Sea Pacific Cod has left some Chinese processors paying 20 percent premiums over last year's prices, which were around $2800 per metric tonne CNF China.
Domestically, Frozen at Sea long line Headed and Gutted Pacific Cod raw materials were in the range of $1.75-$1.80/lb in early 2016.
Our most recent offers for Frozen at Sea Pacific Cod are up 6.5 percent to between $1.90 and $2.00/lb.
Pricing typically starts our strong in January and will begin to fall off slightly by March and April.
--- In the finished goods market, the first offloads of the season appear to be suitable for production of all of the main fillet sizes.
One processor we spoke to projected a good season ahead with quotas likely to be acheived in a good range of fish sizes being caught.
Plants are putting a priority on fillets at the moment, due to the vast shortage in the market, but this is typical for January.
As for pricing, last January, single frozen Pacific Cod fillet offers were at $3.60-$3.80/lb, before settling in February and March to $3.60/lb for 8-16s. 16-32oz fillets were about 20 cents higher per pound.
This month, pricing for new "A" season shatterpack fillets has not been finalized yet, but we predict pricing to be a few points slightly higher than where they were last year.
--- And for twice frozen production, tightened supply from Alaska and a fishery that doesn't start until April in Russia should strengthen finished goods pricing in North America.
Supply is steady before Chinese New Year as orders are pre-booked well in advance, but expect to see scattered supply in the market in the Spring.
We foresee a slight increase in loin pricing, perhaps between 5 and 7 cents per pound by May.