Slow Start to Cod Fishery Leaves Fillet Inventories Bare

26 September 2016, at 1:00am

US - Recent reports from West Coast vendors show Pacific Cod frozen fillet and loin inventories drying up as the Fall fishery is underway, reports Rob Reierson in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

It is expected that the September fishery will not produce much significant volume of Cod Fillets.

Trawl fishing on the Bering Sea runs from January 20th to November 1st.

The annual allocation for Pacific Cod by trawler vessels in the non-directed fishery was just shy of 50,000 metric tonnes

With several months of fishing left, optimism is low, especially on smaller sizes.

As of late last week, Seattle inventories are weak on 4-8oz and 8-16oz shatterpack Alaska pollock fillets.

Shorter supply has caused a price jump, mostly notably on 8-16oz fillets where a 4 point raise brought shatterpack product to $3.65/lb USD in Seattle.

Our advice to buyers is to act on any offers on smaller fillets as we don't anticipate any relief in the near future.

Unlike last year, inventories of larger fillets like 16-32oz and 32ups are still around.

In the Gulf of Alaska, the Pacific Cod total allowable catch was set at 71.9 thousand metric tonnes, which is down about 5 percent for the fishery that runs September 1st to October 15th.

This short fishery typically produces H&G and blocks; however, this year there will be a focus on both H&G and filleting because of the poor harvests in January.

Expect more fillets to hit freezers in February when the new season opens.

--- In the twice frozen markets, we have seen stable Pacific Cod pricing coast-to-coast.

Pacific cod loins in Boston are hitting price points of $2.85 at the moment, comparable with an Atlantic Cod loin at $3.25/lb.

Speaking of Atlantic Cod, after several months of rising raw material pricing, there could some relief on the horizon.

Supply continues to pose problems for major packers in China, with production space booked up until the New Year, but raw materials dropped by about $100 per metric tonne last week.