National Fisherman

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton -- December 23, 2013 --It is a different year as the pacific cod longline fleet prepares to go into the 2014 winter season.  Last year, with a huge surge of cod on the market, prices for H&G frozen at sea cod fell to $1.10 per lb.  This year, production contracts are being set at the $1.50 level, an increase of 35 percent.

What is driving this market is strong demand for cod in the US, Europe and Japan.

“For the first time in many years the major markets of the world for this production - New England, Japan, China, and Europe are lock-stepped together in current pricing”, said one vessel management group.

Numerous contracts for 250 tons or more have been signed at prices of $1.70 CIF (delivered).

It is the Japanese who have led the market higher, and everyone else who has had to catch up.

In New England, demand has been strong since mid-summer, when there was a major cold storage failure in New Bedford that meant a loss of over 1 million lbs of cod in commercial cold storage.  Since then supply has never caught up in New England.

Also, as prices got so low last winter, the number of packers in New England processing frozen pacific cod into refreshed fillets increased a lot, and now all these new producers need more product as well.

In Japan, sellers report demand has been pushed up due to some poor quality issues with Russian longline cod production, which has been a lower priced alternative to Alaskan.  Although Japanese buying for Alaskan cod has been strong, recently currency has become less favorable and as a result prices may have peaked.

Read the full story at Saving Seafood>>

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