Product scarcity along the Pacific Coast of America has left Loligo inventories cleared out and fishermen empty-handed.
Preliminary catch totals for the 2015-2016 season are 37,000 metric tonnes, only 35 percent of the seasonal catch limit of 107,000 metric tonnes.
Warmer El Nino water conditions are to blame for the stock shortages in California.
The last big El Nino in the area was in 1997, which ended around May 1998, with significant landings returning to the area in October.
A recent NOAA report shows La Nina returning, so if the 2016 landings show a similar trend to the last El Nino, we COULD see landings return by September or October.
Lackluster supply on the East Coast of the USA has hit the illex squid market as well.
NOAA has reported just under 80,000 lbs caught since the beginning of the year, which is far greater than this time last year at only 2,000 lbs.
Preseason estimates for 2016 show similar trends as last year, when only 11 percent of the 2015 quota was caught, but it's too early too see if the fishery can make a recovery.
Zero catch of West Coast squid this season and limited East Coast production has pushed up pricing for it's Chinese counterpart, loligo Chinesis.
The main export markets are the West Coast and Europe; however, few Chinese plants offer Chinesis squid as supply is often short on this product too.
Last season, prices for frozen 3-5 inch tubes and tentacles hovered around the $1.80 mark.
This year, we have seen prices steadily climb to $2.20 / LB where they sit now with no signs of dissipating.
We expect pricing to continue to climb until domestic loligo production resumes, hopefully in the Fall.