National Fisherman


Absent from supermarket flyers this spring have been ads featuring the year's first fresh halibut, reflecting the anticipated pushback by buyers to the high-priced fish. "No excitement this year," said more than one major buyer.

In recent years, dwindling supplies of halibut helped push up dock prices to more than $7 a pound at major ports, and halibut fillets topped $20 a pound at retail. That's not the case this year.

The fishery opened March 23. The prices for first deliveries at Kodiak were reported at $5.25 to $5.75 a pound, with a 20-pound split, then after the first week, prices dropped to $4.50 to $4.75 a pound. Southeast's first halibut prices were reported at $5.25 to $5.50, also well below last year.

Lots of halibut is in the freezers and "everyone is holding fish," said a Southeast processor. "We're still not moving a lot of fish even at the lower prices, so it's a wait-and-see situation."

At 10th & M Seafoods in Anchorage, there was "not a lot of enthusiasm" for the season's first halibut, which was fetching $10.95 a pound for H&G (headed and gutted) and $17.95 for fillets. "We're selling lots more cod fish," said owner Rob Winfrey.

Lots of buyers are also holding onto pricey sablefish (black cod), and those prices also took a 40 percent dive at the start of the season. Starting prices in Southeast ranged from about $5 to $3 a pound the first week, compared to $8 to $4 a pound last year. Most of Alaska's sablefish goes to Japan, where the value of the yen is down 20 percent.

Read the full story at the Anchorage Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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