US - Many boats in Alaska are not dropping their nets for Pacific Cod as they continue to target Pollock instead, reports Rob Reierson in the Tradexx Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.
Recent catch data from NOAA as of February 4th show 7,000 metric tonnes of Pacific Cod caught in the Gulf and 46,000 metric tonnes caught in the Bering Sea.
If you recall last year, the Cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska tapered in March when only 20,000 metric tonnes were caught.
Once fishing efforts switch from Pollock to Cod we should see more of the 62,000 metric tonne quota in the Gulf captured.
--- For pricing, Frozen at Sea Headed and Gutted Pacific Cod remains in the higher range of $2.00/lb, which is up about 9 percent on average over last year.
By looking at historical raw material pricing, we can gauge where the fillet market is going this year.
--- The Bering Sea continues to land larger cod, so we are seeing strong fillet inventories out of Dutch Harbor for larger size fillets like 8-16 and 16-32oz.
It's nearly impossible to find smaller shatterpack fillets like the 4-8oz - quite opposite from last year when the market scrambled for large fillets for most of the year.
Current pricing on 32oz up fillets is $4.05 per pound, 16-32s are at $4.00, and 8/16s are around the $3.80 mark.
These price points have caused some sticker shock on the West Coast as 2016 inventories are drying up.
With larger fillets pushing over the $4.00 mark some may decide to source hand-to-mouth in hopes of a market correction.
As for where we think pricing is going, we saw strong fillet pricing open the season last year, with some relief during the summer until inventories were bare by November.
Timing your inventory is important right now as the Lenten season has already begun to spark demand in the two weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday.
TheFishSite News Desk