Written by Jen Finn
April 9, 2013
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>>
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