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Mar 29 - Gulf Snow Crab May Not be Underway Until Week of April 23rd due to Ice


Mar 27 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday March 27, 2017


Mar 27 - Florida's Spiny Lobster Season to Close on April 1


Mar 27 - Maine Lobstermen Figured Out How to Make More Money Off Their Catches


Mar 24 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday March 24, 2017


Mar 21 - Boston Show Upbeat Again this Year as Footprint Expands


Mar 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday, March 20, 2017


Mar 20 - Mike Tourkistas Steps Down from CEO Role as East Coast Seafoods Hires New CEO


Mar 17 - Whitecap Will Celebrate 50 Years of Luxury Brand Canadian Crab at Boston, Brussels and China Shows


Mar 17 - Lobsters 2nd Largest Volume Import at Zhengzhou Airport as Expanded Air Cargo Capacity Continues


Mar 16 - Australia Quarantines Shellfish in Moreton Bay to Combat Spread of Whitespot Disease


Mar 15 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday March 15, 2017


Mar 15 - Clearwater to Debut Norway Lobster, Rock Crab and Additional Arctic Surf Clam Products at Boston


Mar 15 - Chinese Press Hints at More Crackdown on Lobster and Shrimp Smuggling Through Vietnam


Mar 13 - PODCAST: Maine Lobster Reaches Record Values and Mahi Comes Off US Restaurant Menus


Mar 10 - VIDEO: Maine’s Lobster Fishery Reaches Record Values; High Priced Mahi Starts to Come off Menus


Mar 8 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday March 8, 2017


Mar 8 - Clearwater Reports 2016 Results and Positive Outlook for 2017


Mar 7 - Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods Enters Scallop Business in Marketing Deal with Northern Wind


Mar 6 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday March 6, 2017


Mar 6 - Red Lobster Adds Maine Lobster Items to Limited Time Lunch Menu for Lobsterfest


Mar 3 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday March 3, 2017


Mar 3 - US, Chinese Demand Sends Maine Lobster Values to Record Levels as Landings Top 130 Million Lbs


Mar 3 - Maine Officials Seek Input from Lobstermen Potentially Affected by Proposed Coral Rules


Feb 27 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday February 27, 2017


Feb 24 - MSC Streamlines Assessment in Pilot Program for Echebastar Indian Ocean Skipjack Tuna


Feb 21 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday February 21, 2017


Feb 17 - Red Chamber to Allow Federal Observers Aboard its Red Shrimp Boats in Argentina to Meet FIP Goal


Feb 16 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday February 16, 2017


Feb 15 - How Alaskans Forced Snow Crab Prices Above $8.00; This Price Likely to Carry Through to Boston


Feb 10 - Atlantic States Fishery Managers Adopt Coast-Wide Jonah Crab Claw Harvesting Rule; Set Bycatch Plan


Feb 10 - China Changing from Largest Seafood Exporter to Largest Seafood Importer With Government Support


Feb 8 - Quiznos Brings Back Lobster Subs for Lent


Feb 7 - Strong Demand and Cultural Preferences for Seafood Driving Up Prices in China for New Year Sales


Feb 6 - Red Lobster Brings Back Lobsterfest With Four New Combo Entrees


Feb 3 - Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative Scores with Lobster Guacamole for Super Bowl Weekend


Feb 3 - ASFMC Wants to Reduce Number of Lobster Traps in Southern New England to Rebuild Stock


Jan 31 - Performance Food Group Buys Assets to Orlando-Based Distributor Bar Harbor Seafood


Jan 27 - NPFMC Director Chris Oliver Receives Massive Industry-Wide Support to be NOAA's Next Fisheries Admin


Jan 26 - Chinese Ecommerce Company Sends Michelin Chef to Lucky Customers Home with New Year Order


Jan 23 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday January 23, 2017


Jan 23 - Thai Union Secures $694 Million in Investment Funds in Strong Support of Red Lobster Deal


Jan 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday, January 20, 2017


Jan 18 - Most Lays Offs at Mazzetta's Gloucester Subsidiary Were Temp Workers; Finding Jobs for Full Timers


Jan 17 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Jan 13 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday January 13, 2017


Jan 12 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday January 12, 2017


Jan 12 - Bahamian Spiny Lobster Fishery Embarks on MSC Assessment


Jan 12 - Signs point to Surging Market for High-End Imported Seafood in China This New Year


Jan 11 - China Cuts Tariff Rates on Large Range of Imported Seafood


Jan 11 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday January 11, 2016


Jan 9 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday January 9, 2017


Jan 6 - Indian Shrimp Imports to US Surge 34% in Nov; Total Shipments on Record Pace at 1.2 Billion Lbs


Jan 5 - FDA Mahi Rejections Highest Since 2012 as Filth Accounts for 65% of All Seafood Refusals in 2016


Jan 4 - Seafood.com News Summary January 4, 2017


Jan 4 - PODCAST: West Coast's Dungeness Fishermen Go on Strike


Jan 3 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday January 3, 2017


Jan 3 - Red Lobster Includes Wild Caught Red Shrimp in Limited Time Shrimp Promotion to Start New Year


Dec 27 - PODCAST: Gulf's Already Poor Shrimp Harvest Enters Seasonal Decline


Dec 27 - N. Pacific Council Threatens New England Style Fisheries Management Collapse in Gulf of Alaska


Dec 26 - Seafood News is Closed Today in Observance of Christmas Day


Dec 23 - Seafood News Will be Closed on December 26 in Observance of Christmas Day


Dec 21 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday December 21, 2016


Dec 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday December 20, 2016


Dec 19 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday, December 19, 2016


Dec 19 - Lobster Market Rocked by Slow Fishing in Nova Scotia


Dec 19 - PODCAST: Mahi Set to Disappear from Menus in 2017, Oregon Crabbing, Thai Shrimp Forecast


Dec 15 - Deep -Sea Coral MPA Established Off Mid-Atlantic With Fishing Exemptions for Lobsters and Red Crabs


Dec 9 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday, December 9, 2016


Dec 9 - Kim Gorton Testifies on Absurdity of USDA Catfish Regulations at House Hearing


Dec 9 - Lobster Market at Inflection Point as Many Canadian Processors Halt Production This Weekend


Dec 7 - FDA Seafood Refusals Tick Down in November But Filth Keeps 2016 Rejections at Record Pace


Dec 7 - Christian Brun, Head of Maritime Fishermen's Union, Dies in Car Accident in New Brunswick


Dec 5 - PODCAST: Oregon and Washington's Dungeness Season Delayed and Alaska's Pollock Biomass Reported


Dec 2 - Don't Give Up on Snow Crab: 2017 Data Says Canadian Volumes Will Come Roaring Back


Dec 1 - Sea Pact Awards Four More Seafood Research Projects with Annual Grant Funding


Nov 30 - Canada's Bay of Fundy Herring Fishery Gets MSC Certified


Nov 29 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday November 29, 2016


Nov 29 - Nova Scotia Lobster Season Opens with First Haul Back at Midnight Tonight


Nov 29 - Seafood Sales Reported Excellent Through China's Online Sellers on Singles Day


Nov 28 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday November 28, 2016


Nov 28 - Uncertainty over Prices As SW Nova Scotia Lobster Season Opens This Week


Nov 25 - Urner Barry and Seafood News Closed November 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving


Nov 24 - Urner Barry and Seafood News Closed November 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving


Nov 23 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday November 23, 2016


Nov 23 - Urner Barry and Seafood News Closed November 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving


Nov 22 - Lobster Industry Supports Kaikoura Fishing Closures


Nov 21 - PODCAST: 26-30 Ct. Price Spreads Between Asian, Latin American Shrimp; Dungeness Season Starts


Nov 21 - JD and Alibaba Battle Over Fresh Seafood on Singles Day in China; JD Inks Deal with Canada


Nov 18 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday November 18, 2016


Nov 17 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday November 17, 2016


Nov 16 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday November 16, 2016


Nov 15 - Red Lobster Launches Wild Caught Red Shrimp Promotion


Nov 15 - Canada and Chile Make Big Effort at Qingdao Fisheries and SFd Expo; Seek Chinese Investment as Well


Nov 14 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday November 14, 2016


Nov 14 - Maritime Fish Harvesters Cry Foul at Evidence Foreign Buyers Seeking Lobster Licenses in Nova Scotia


Nov 10 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday November 10, 2016


Nov 10 - Clearwater Notes Good Global Demand for Premium Priced Seafood With Sales Up 30% in 2016


Nov 10 - Major New Brunswick Lobster Processors Warn of Possible Shortage of Tails this Winter


Nov 9 - Urner Barry Launches New Seafood Price Current With Additional Quotations, Interactive Features


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Gulf Snow Crab May Not be Underway Until Week of April 23rd due to Ice

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton  March 29, 2017

After a cold March, ice is thick in the harbor at Caraquet.  The first icebreaker to try and open the harbor to prepare for the start of the crab season encountered ice 4 feet thick, and was unable to do the job, reported some of the people at the crab and lobster meetings held in Shippagan, NB yesterday.

A larger icebreaker will have to be scheduled. Some participants thought...

Full Story »

Florida's Spiny Lobster Season to Close on April 1

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - March 27, 2017

Florida’s spiny lobster season will close this weekend on Saturday April 1 and reports say the season started strong in September but production was hurt from a hurricane in October and a mild winter.

As of April 1 there will no spiny lobster harvesting until the summer. There will be a two-day recreational sport season in July. Then, the spiny lobster season will officially reopen August 6th.

In October, Hurricane Matthew battered the Florida coast. The storm stirred up the waters in the Florida Keys and moved traps. A report in early March said it took the industry a full month to rebound from the story... 

Full Story »

Torrential Rain, Massive Flooding Deals Blow to Peruvian Scallop Production

Weeks of torrential rains and flooding in Peru are impacting scallop production in the Northern part of the country. Expectations are for Peruvian scallops supplies to be limited at least short term.According to European seafood analysts at Seafood Intelligence Portal (SIP), the flooding is hurting Peruvian scallop production. Van Herwijnen said many scallops farms in Sechura Bay are closed indefinitely, particularly those that use bottom farming systems. He said operators that use hanging rope systems have relocated production farther out to sea. The expectation is for Peruvian supplies to be tight. Meanwhile, long term damage to Peru’s production and exports remains murky.

In Newfoundland, the return of cod may be signaling a shift in the food cycle that could hurt coldwater shrimp stocks. For the last decade the northern cod stock has been increasing at a rate of about 30 per cent per year. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s 2016 stock assessment estimated its total biomass at around 300,000 metric tons. Biologists say a shift is occurring back to the traditional order of a capelin-cod dominated food chain.

In other news, booming squid catches and high prices have some squid fishermen in Point Judith concerned. At issue is how the port's economy has become heavily reliant on the squid fishery. Fishermen live in a constant worry about losing their fishing grounds; they worry over changing policy and the uncertainty of finances from one year to the next. A vessel used to be able to jump from one fishery to the next, from cod to fluke to squid to herring. That no longer occurs. This is a similar problem Maine is experiencing with fishermen almost solsolelypendant on lobster.

Meanwhile, Alaska's Board of Fisheries is meeting in Anchorage this week and commissioners are looking into the possibility of opening the fishery even in low abundance years.The Bering Sea Bairdi (or Tanner) crab fishery stayed closed this year, for the first time in four years. State biologists decided there were too few crab to safely harvest. But fishermen are questioning that decision. They say there were plentiful Bairdi when they were fishing for other species.

Finally, in this week's Seafood News Roundup show we recap some of the major stories that we reported from this week's Seafood Expo North America in Boston. It was a busy and upbeat show with lots of traffic at Urner Barry's booth and around the show floor. We appreciate those in the industry who took time out of their schedules to meet with us.

Have a great weekend and get some rest.

Full Story »

News Summary March 20, 2017 

Today's Main Story: Mike Tourkistas Steps Down from CEO Role as East Coast Seafoods Hires New CEO

Leading the headlines today is word that Michael Tourkistas, who together with his wife Heidi built East Coast Seafoods from a two person operation into the largest distributor of live and frozen North American Lobster, is realizing a transition plan that allows him to step back somewhat from the company, but propels the $400 million operation on a robust growth path.

In other news, a new trade deal looming between Canada and the European Union is setting off alarm bells in the Maine lobster industry. The deal between Canada and the EU – the largest seafood consumer market in the world – would eliminate tariffs on Canadian lobster exports into Europe and give the Maritimes a competitive advantage over their American counterparts, who would be stuck selling lobsters with tariffs ranging from 8 percent for a live lobster to 20 percent on processed or cooked lobster.

Meanwhile, the expanding market for lobsters in China is continuing to grow, with the country setting a new record for the value of its imports of the crustaceans from the United States. Last year, China imported more than $108 million in lobsters from America, surpassing the previous high of about $90.2 million in 2014. Chinese importers took in more than 14 million pounds of U.S. lobsters last year, which was also a record. The 

Full Story »

Whitecap Will Celebrate 50 Years of Luxury Brand Canadian Crab at Boston, Brussels, and China Shows

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [SeafoodNews]  March 17, 2017

Whitecap, the Canadian crab lobster and shrimp producer and marketer that is a part of Sirena Group is celebrating 50 years of their Luxury crab brand.

"During each of the Boston, Brussels, and China seafood shows in 2017 we are celebrating 50 years of the Luxury brand.  The brand was created in 1967 by Atlantic Queen Seafoods (a group of crab processors) to market their snow crab collectively.  The founders of Atlantic Queen saw at an early stage the benefits of consolidated selling.  The Luxury brand has expanded into a global premium shellfish brand selling cold water shrimp, lobster, Rock ...

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Australia Quarantines Shellfish in Moreton Bay to Combat Spread of Whitespot Disease

SEAFOODNEWS.COM   [SeafoodNews] March 16, 2017

The Queensland government has put a movement control order in place for Moreton Bay, including wild shellfish harvests of shrimp, crab and lobsters, including Moreton Bay bugs.

“Fishing, crabbing and catching prawns can continue in Moreton Bay and catchments covered by the order, including the Logan and Albert Rivers, but people will not be able to move uncooked crustaceans such as crabs, prawns, yabbies, Moreton Bay bugs or marine worms, which can carry the disease, out of the area.

The actions come after new detection of the whitespot virus in wild stocks.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne...

Full Story »

Clearwater to Debut Norway Lobster, Rock Crab and Additional Arctic Surf Clam Products at Boston

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 15, 2017

Clearwater Seafoods launched several new seafood products featuring arctic surf clams, crab and Norway lobster in time for the Seafood Expo North America that will kick off this Sunday in Boston.

The company will feature 100 percent natural and wild-caught Arctic Surf Clams in two new formats:  Frozen Arctic Surf Clam Sushi-Ready Slices and Chopped Wild Arctic Surf Canned Clams.

The Sushi Ready Slices feature Clearwater’s MSC-certified Arctic Surf Clams in pre-cut and portioned sushi-ready slices. The company said the item is ideal for Japanese foodservice operators and Asian retailers...

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PODCAST: Maine Lobster Reaches Record Values and Mahi Comes Off US Restaurant Menus

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Mahi Coming Off Menus With 2016/17 Season a Bust, US Inventories Limited and Market at Record Highs

Mahi is starting to come off of restaurant menus in the US this year since the 2016/17 fishing season in Central and South America was a bust, which has limited inventories in the US market, pushed frozen wholesale markets to record levels and sent fresh prices to abnormally high prices for this time of the year. Fresh and frozen mahi supplies are down from a combination of water temperature-induced production problems from major Central and South American suppliers and a hike in FDA inspections and rejections of mahi in 2016. Frozen mahi prices are now at record highs, while fresh prices are trending well above averages for this time of the year.

Major Chinese scallop producer and exporter Zhangzidao posted improved revenues in 2016. The company took several steps to turn around its business last year including improving its scallop production and sales to domestic markets. The company also to streamlined the management of its operations and slimmed down its business goals to focus more on production rather than distribution logistics.

Meanwhile, Clearwater Seafoods' sales grew 21 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year. Clearwater said its sales and earnings were positively impacted by strong prices for scallops and higher sales volumes for clams, lobster, langoustine, whelks and crab. However, Clearwater said this growth was mostly from its acquisition of Macduff Shellfish's operations in late 2015. Otherwise, the company's sales fell short of its target. "Excluding Macduff, Clearwater's core business financial performance was below expectations as the company felt the combined effects of shortages of supply in northern shrimp and sea scallops," said Ian Smith, Chief Executive Officer.

In other news, Japan's inventory of salted kazunoko (herring roe) carried over from 2016 is up 10 percent from a year before according to the Fisheries Agency's cold-store seafood distribution statistics. The agency said this was the highest increase rate on record.

Finally, the New England Fishery Management Council’s scallop committee will meet to discuss how catch reports might be compiled more quickly and how to collect better scientific data to estimate the number of scallops in the northern gulf. The committee first will work to identify issues that need to be addressed before the council considers making changes to fishing restrictions for each class of vessel. Some of Maine's small boat scallopers say current regulations favor unlimited quotas for the big boat sector and that they are getting squeezed out of the fishery.

Full Story »

Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods Enters Scallop Business in Marketing Deal with Northern Wind

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - March 7, 2017

Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods (COSFF) will enter the scallop business after the major distributor announced a marketing agreement with Massachusetts-based Northern Wind.

According to the agreement the companies will work together to provide customers with high quality, responsibly sourced frozen scallops.

Northern Wind is one of the largest Atlantic scallop producers in the US with contracted vessels harvesting an estimated 20 percent of the allowable catch along the eastern seaboard...

Full Story »

Red Lobster Adds Maine Lobster Items to Limited Time Lunch Menu for Lobsterfest 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - March 6, 2017

Red Lobster is expanding its Lobsterfest promotion to its lunch menu with the addition of a Maine lobster roll among other lunchtime offerings that feature lobster.

The national seafood chain’s Lobster Lover's Lunch will, for a limited-time, offer customers a Lobster Roll with French Fries, Lobster-Topped Caesar Salad or one-half Lobster and Langostino Pizza paired with guests' choice of a side salad or cup of soup for $9.99. 

The Lobster Roll features sweet Maine lobster meat tossed in lemon aioli on a toasted roll. The Lobster-Topped Caesar Salad is another exclusive item on the Lobster Lover's Lunch that pairs Red Lobster's Classic Caesar Salad with Maine lobster meat...

Full Story »

US, Chinese Demand Sends Maine Lobster Values to Record Levels as Landings Top 130 Million Lbs

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - March 3, 2017

The value of Maine lobster landings reached a record high in 2016 from unprecedented demand in US and Chinese markets.

According to data from Maine’s Department of Natural Resources, the value of the state’s lobster landings in 2016 topped $500 million. The figure was up nearly $30 million from 2015. The fishery is by far the most valuable marine resource in the state, accounting for about 75 percent of Maine’s total commercial marine resources.

Maine’s lobster landings in 2016 were also record-setting...

Full Story »

Stavis Seafoods to Open 40,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse in Peabody, Mass to Store Frozen Inventories

Stavis Seafoods is opening an additional 40,000 square foot warehouse facility just north of Boston in Peabody, Massachusetts, which will be the company's primary home for its frozen seafood products. The facility will open on March 6 and allows Stavis to store most of its frozen inventory under one roof, which the company says will improve order fulfillment and warehouse efficiency. “Stavis Peabody represents a significant upgrade for us and is part of a larger growth strategy," said Richard Stavis, CEO of Stavis Seafoods. “It provides us with more freezer space, more pick faces, more docks and better accessibility than we have ever had. These improvements will allow us to pick and stage orders quicker than ever before. It also gives customers an additional location near Boston to pick up fresh and frozen orders, alleviating congestion at our Fresh Center and improving service levels and cut off times across the board.”

Shrimp production in China is expected to decline for the second straight year in 2017 from several factors according to Siam Canadian. It appears Chinese shrimp farmers have not been able to update their shrimp farming equipment to prevent the spread of disease. Farmers compounded the problem by buying poor quality shrimp seed and cheap feed, factors that both contributed to high mortality rates.

In other news, pangasius prices in Vietnam are on an unexpected upswing because of higher demand from new markets. It was anticipated that pangasius prices would decline because of falling demand in US and EU markets, which are traditionally the top destinations for Vietnam's pangasius exports. However, China, South America and the Middle East have stepped up their pangasius purchases at the same time that farmers have cut production.

Meanwhile, Seven proposals for Prince William Sound are among the 38 proposals on king and tanner crab up for discussion when the Alaska Board of Fisheries meets in Anchorage March 20-24. Proposal 268 from Cordova District Fishermen United would create a harvest strategy and amend regulations for tanner crab in Prince William Sound specifying conditions under which the commercial fishery may occur and establish a sport fishery and also establishing a sport fishery for tanner crab. CDFU’s proposal notes that it has been 27 years since the last tanner crab fishery in Prince William Sound, and that the CDFU board feels that adoption of a commercial harvest strategy for tanner crab should be formulated from the trawl survey data.

Finally, The Maine Lobstering Union has voted to buy the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound for $4 million. The pound can store up to 180,000 pounds of lobsters and should allow the local lobstermen to start buying and selling their own lobsters.

Full Story »

DFO Says Newfoundland's Shrimp Stock Still at Critically Low Level; Sank 25% Between '15 - '16

The latest stock assessment of Newfoundland's pink shrimp biomass by federal biologists showed not much improvement compared to 2015. This assessment was conducted on shrimp fishing areas (SFA) 6, 5 and 4 — off the Northern Peninsula and the coast of Labrador. For the key SFA 6, the fishable biomass — the weight of all commercial-sized male and female shrimp — declined from 785,000 metric tons in 2006 to just 104,000 metric tons in 2016. And there was a 25 percent decline from 2015 to 2016. DFO said work is currently underway on a stock advisory report, which will be ready for publication next week. on March 9, the Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee will meet to hear the latest report from DFO and to offer their suggestions on quota levels for this year’s shrimp fishing season

The federal freeze on approving new regulatory measures issued by the Trump Administration last month has stalled some fishery policies across the country. However, regional management councils and lawmakers have been able to secure quick exemptions from the freeze for some quota allocation changes and other vital fishery management protocols. One such exemption was secured by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio and other West Coast lawmakers, who successfully petitioned this week to get updated West Coast rockfish quotas implemented.

In other news, Nova Scotia's provincial Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell said there is an intention to expand premium quality seafood shipments to the Chinese market. The announcement was made after three lobster exporters in Nova Scotia elected to participate in a pilot program with China's major online sales platform Tmall to sell premium quality live lobsters. “I can’t disclose that but (Alibaba is) very anxious to work with us and other products,” said Colwell. “It’s going to be a while because these things take a long time to negotiate.”

Meanwhile, the US Commerce Department finalized the duty rates for Frozen Warmwater Shrimp exports out of Vietnam in its 11th period of review. The final rate makes no change for 12 exporters compared to the 10th final review rates.

Finally, Northern Dynasty responded to an investor report that said its Pebble mine asset near Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed was "worthless." Northern Dynasty said Kerrsidale Capital's report was "unfounded" and based on "unsupported speculation."

Full Story »

Nova Scotia Tests Project with Chinese Online Retailer Tmall  to Export Only Premium Quality Lobsters

Three Nova Scotia lobsters exporters and Chinese online retailer Tmall agreed to participate in a pilot project that will ensure Chinese consumers are getting premium lobsters. During this project, which is to run from May through to September, three Nova Scotia companies will export 300,000 live lobsters to be sold through Tmall. Under the deal inked by Nova Scotia and Tmall, which is part of Alibaba's e-commerce business, lobster exporters will submit to a quality-control initiative. This will include a quality standards manual, a training program and regular audits at participating export plants in Nova Scotia and the receiver sites in China. “The online market in China is a huge, huge business opportunity and we’re seeing this as an opportunity to reach new customers," said Robert MacDonald, Gidney’s president and general manager.

Alaskan cod and pollock fishing and processing in Adak has been put on hold for the second straight year. According to Adak city officials, fishermen do not want to catch pollock because of low prices. Meanwhile, the city's processing plant said it would likely only process pollock if it could also start receiving cod deliveries. However, cod fishermen are currently suing to stop a 2015 NPFMC decision that requires them to deliver tons of their harvest to Adak.

In other news, Hawaii lawmakers advanced a bill that requires more oversight of the commercial fishing industry after an Associated Press investigation found labor abuse aboard US owned and operated commercial tuna longliners. The bill would require fishing boat owners who want a commercial license in Hawaii to provide state officials with a copy of employment contracts held with every fisherman on board before the license is granted. The bill passed the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Tuesday and it goes next to the Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. The deal, which has been seven years in the making, will eliminate almost all trade tariffs between the European Union and Canada. Economists say tariffs on Canada's seafood exports to the EU are likely to be phased out over the next three to seven years under CETA.

Finally, Eastern Pacific fisheries managers finally reached an agreement last week on fishing for Pacific bigeye and yellowfin tunas. It took more than seven months and the measures are not without criticism, but the regulations align with other international management and acknowledge excessive fishing effort may harm the tuna resources.

Full Story »

Some Newfoundland Snow Crab Plants Attempting to Settle with Japanese at $6.95 FOB St. John’s

Major Newfoundland snow crab packer Quinlan Bros. announced their first contract with Japanese buyers. The company has agreed with Maruha Nichiro on a first order for 1000 tons, packed to Japanese specifications, at a price of $6.95 FOB St. John’s. The Quinlan Bros. now have a state-of-the-art plant since rebuilding the Newfoundland facility after a fire razed the plant just before the start to the snow crab season last year. The destruction of the plant created a chaotic situation in the snow crab market last year as Japanese buyers had to scramble to fill orders that they thought were solid. There are several other major plants in Newfoundland that have agreed to sell at this same price, but as of press time, no additional contracts have been publicly announced. There certainly is a strong desire for more orderly Japanese purchasing this year, on the part of both crab producers and their major Japanese partners writes John Sackton.

Record high prices for many popular seafood items in the US market are likely to support more shrimp consumption in 2017 given the item's relatively stable price and a strong supply outlook.A look at Urner Barry quotations show high market prices for salmon, snow crab, king crab and mahi-mahi. Compared to these other seafood species, the shrimp market represents a value and could be used as a replacement item on restaurant menus and among retailers.

In other news, the normalization of trade relations between China and Norway has salmon producers in Norway looking to expand sales to the Chinese market. The industry is looking for new markets and new ways to boost margins. One such example is Marine Harvest cooperation with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s biggest e-commerce company, to sell salmon online. “China is too big to ignore,” Hogne I. Tyssoy, portfolio manager of the Holberg Triton fund, said “Now when it’s opening again, Norwegian seafood has an exciting future in China.”

Meanwhile, Indian shrimp exports are likely to benefit from lower duty rates the US Department of Commerce preliminarily announced in March. The 1.07 percent country-wide rate would result in some refunds for several exporters if finalized. "Because of the duty being lowered, a lot of major exporters will stand to get duty refunds which will be a big boost for the exports," said Rajen Padhy, director general of Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a seafood consultant.

Finally, Red Lobster continues to expand to international markets. It has built 21 restaurants internationally since its spun off from Darden Restaurants in 2014. The company has expanded to Mexico, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia among other markets. Red Lobster hasn't built a new restaurant in the US over two years and doesn't have any immediate plans for new American locations.

Full Story »

Maine Lobstermen Figured Out How to Make More Money Off Their Catches

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Bangor Daily News] By Bill Trotter- March 27, 2017

Maine lobstermen figured out how to make more money off their catches
LAMOINE, Maine — A lobstermen-only fishing organization has purchased a local lobster wholesale business, extending the reach of its members further down the distribution chain and giving them a greater share of the profit off their catch.

The Maine Lobstering Union, formed in 2013 in the wake of a sharp drop in prices paid to lobstermen by dealers, is buying Seal Point Lobster Co., a wholesale lobster distribution firm owned by the Pettegrow family. The Pettegrows also own the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound restaurant, which is not part of ...

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Boston Show Upbeat Again this Year as Footprint Expands

SEAFOODNEWS.COM     by John Sackton March 21, 2017

The Boston Seafood Show, now called Seafood Expo North America, has an upbeat feel this year.  The Show owner Diversified says it is the biggest show ever in terms of booth space.  In the past the organizers had co-located the show with a regional New England Foodservice Show.  This year that is not happening and the entire hall is seafood only.

Despite high prices on a number of items, the overall feeling here is one of optimism.  Few people have any significant inventories on high priced product, and it is only a couple of items.. such as small coldwater shrimp and some smaller sizes of lobster tails that seem in ample supply.

On the other hand, many buyers are expecting lower...

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Mike Tourkistas Steps Down from CEO Role as East Coast Seafoods Hires New CEO

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  March 20, 2017

Michael Tourkistas, who together with his wife Heidi built East Coast Seafoods from a two person operation into the largest distributor of live and frozen North American Lobster, is realizing a transition plan that allows him to step back somewhat from the company but propels the $400 million operation on a robust growth path.

For several years Michael has been working on this ...

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Lobsters 2nd Largest Volume Import at Zhengzhou Airport as Expanded Air Cargo Capacity Continues

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [henandaily] Translated by Amy Zhong  March 17, 2017

Zhengzhou of Henan welcomes its 13th flight of Canadian lobsters this year. More and more high-end seafood is being flown here from the North America.

One reason is the expansion of airfreight capacity to China from seafood shipping locations such as Halifax.  Even after Chinese New Year has ended, there are two flights a week of wide-body cargo jets with service from Nova Scotia to China.

At 3 am of March 15, a cargo plane from Canada landed in Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport. On the plane are 71.3 tons of Canadian lobsters worth around 6.5 million yuan. This ...

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Russia Plans to Seize Fishing Quotas from Producers Who Build Trawlers With Foreign Capital

Russia's federal fisheries agency plans to start more active seizures of fishing quotas from harvesters who rely on foreign capital to build vessels. The seizures are part of a plan is to encourage fishermen to build fishing trawlers at local shipyards, according to a spokesman at Rosrybolovstvo. Initially, the goal will be to distribute about 20% of the total volume of fishing quotas to local producers that use domestic shipyards. Ultimately, Russia wants as much as 35 percent of quotas distributed to producers that use domestic shipbuilders. In more Russian fishery news, Japan's Hokkaido Federation of Fishermen say Russia's catch of pollock with roe from the Sea of Okhotsk is down about 7 percent during the A season. The federation says that the pace of production slowed from last year around late February, and showed no signs of recovery in the first week of March.

Reports in China suggest customs officials are cracking down on illegal shrimp and lobster shipments imported through Vietnam. Reports suggest buyers in China are pushing for illegal seafood smuggling to avoid high tariffs. It is beleived that the illegal trade will continue for a couple more years until a free trade agreement between China and Australia goes into effect in 2019. That agreement will eliminate rates on Australian seafood shipped to the Chinese market over the course of four years.

In other news, Maine seafood distributor Bristol Seafood has earned Fair Trade Certification for its line of North Atlantic Sea Scallops. This is the first domestically harvested seafood item in the US market to earn recognition from the Fair Trade program. “We are very proud to be the first to introduce Fair Trade Certified seafood harvested in the United States,” said Peter Handy, Presi­dent and CEO of Bristol Seafood. “All of our products are based on integrity and sustainable practices, and Fair Trade certification gives our customers third-party valida­tion that we operate in a socially responsible manner as well.”

Meanwhile, commercial salmon fishermen in Oregon and California are once again looking at no significant summer season this year -- a repeat of similar conditions in the late 2000s. The Pacific Fishery Management Council this week announced sport and commercial salmon fishing seasons that would go out for public review between now and its April 6-11 meeting. The Council will choose the final fishing seasons in April for submittal to the National Marine Fisheries Service's approval and implementation by May 1.

Finally, a new bill is being proposed by Alaska lawmakers that would require captains collect an as yet undefined amount of each crew’s wages and remit it to the state Department of Revenue. The United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) opposes the proposal. “We don’t want to be tax collectors, we just want to be able to send a 1099 to the state and then they collect from the crews. We have no idea what their taxes are and I think they are going to make more work for themselves," said UFA's president Jerry McCune.

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Chinese Press Hints at More Crackdown on Lobster and Shrimp Smuggling Through Vietnam

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [163.com]  Translated by Amy Zhong  March 15, 2017

On March 7, Shenzhen customs seized another load of illegal seafood in a smuggling case. In total, there were around 34 cartons of lobsters weighing 1.07 tons. The smugglers planned to illegally bring in these lobsters through Wenjindu port of Shenzhen respectively at 14:05 and 14:10 that day. And they used two trucks which were documented as empty.

Similar seafood smuggling has been uncovered in China from time to time, despite relevant departments’ criminal take-down operations and documents released to cut tariff rates.

For example, one year after the implementation of the FTA between China and Australia, the tariff rates have declined or even been eliminated for Australian seafood. However, over half of Australian seafood still illegally entered China through Vietnam or Hong Kong in 2016...

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VIDEO: Maine’s Lobster Fishery Reaches Record Values; High Priced Mahi Starts to Come off Menus

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Clearwater Reports 2016 Results and Positive Outlook for 2017

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - March 8, 2017 

HALIFAX -- Today Clearwater Seafoods reported its full year results for 2016, including sales growth of 21 percent over 2015. Sales for the full year were listed at $611.6 million, compared to 504.9 million from 2015.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $120.9 million for 2016, compared to $109.7 million for 2015. This marks Clearwater's seventh consecutive year of top and bottom line growth. 

Sales and adjusted EBITDA were positively impacted by strong sales prices for scallops...

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Bering Sea Snow Crab Season Going Slow 

Fishermen are having the toughest time in the past five years finding snow crab, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in Unalaska. The fleet of 60 crab boats has caught 74 percent of the quota in the Bering Sea according to ADF&G biologist Ethan Nichols. But based on the number of crab in an average pot, the catch has plummeted. Meanwhile, Alaskan crabbers and their allies in the Pribilof Islands say a hybrid should be considered part of the catch of whatever the fishermen are targeting, whether Tanner bairdi or Tanner opilio. "The mixed physical characteristics make it extremely difficult to identify hybrid Tanner crab in a quick and efficient manner, especially during active fishing operations," the crab group said.

A Washington state fish buyer, Pacific Harvest Seafood, intends to bring a processing vessel to Bethel and park it at the seawall during the late summer silver salmon run in the Kuskokwim River and in the Kuskokwim Bay according to Pacific Harvest Seafood's President Jim Gonzalez. The Renton-based company also will run a tender to go back and forth between the fishing village of Quinhagak on Kuskokwim Bay to the self-sustained floating processor

In other news, the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for an independent, external review of the management and science capabilities of Canada's federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in relation to the reported dramatic decline of key stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador. The request for review follows recent federal stock assessments for Newfoundland's coldwater shrimp and snow crab fisheries, which each showed poor biomass results.

Meanwhile, Red Lobster is expanding its Lobsterfest promotion to its lunch menu with the addition of a Maine lobster roll among other lunchtime offerings that feature Maine lobster. Last week, we reported how the value of Maine lobster landings reached a record high in 2016 from unprecedented demand in US and Chinese markets. In the United States, the restaurant sector has featured more lobster meat items on menus in recent years and Red Lobster's lunch special is one such example. The lunchtime offerings will retail for $9.99 at participating locations.

Finally, the FDA issued more seafood refusal data for the month of February over the weekend, which showed by line item refusals more in line with historical averages but on the decline compared to 2016. According to the data, refusals from China were the highest among all suppliers to the US market in February. Filth remains on the FDA’s radar accounting for 40 percent of the month’s seafood rejections. However, FDA seafood refusals in 2017 are trending below last year’s levels so far.

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US, Chinese Demand Sends Maine Lobster Values to Record Levels as Landings Top 130 Million Lbs 

According to data from Maine’s Department of Natural Resources, the value of the state’s lobster landings in 2016 topped $500 million. The figure was up nearly $30 million from 2015 and a new record. The state's lobster landings in 2016 were also record-setting at 130 million pounds. At the same time, Urner Barry prices for lobster meat and live lobsters reached record levels in 2016. This is the result of high restaurant demand for lobster meat in the US market and a surge in North American live lobster sales to China.

Both U.S. and Canadian whiting industries will enjoy a higher total allowable catch of Pacific hake in 2017. The key drivers for the higher TACs are strong 2010 and 2014 year classes, according to the stock assessment. The assessment also noted those classes should drive the fishery for the next few years. This year's high TAC is still far shy of the potential of almost 970,000 mt that could be harvested while keeping the stock healthy writes Susan Chambers.

In other news, the long-awaited word arrived from both the State Department and the Commerce Department late yesterday that the Pacific halibut season would open on time this year. “On behalf of the Secretary of State, after consulting with and obtaining the concurrence of the Department of Commerce, I accept on behalf of the United States all of the recommendations proposed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission for the 2017 Pacific Halibut fishery....," said State Department Assistant Secretary Judith Garber.

Meanwhile, Cooke Aquaculture CEO Glenn Cooke said Alaska's wild salmon sales can flourish now that Icicle Seafoods' is under the umbrella of Cooke's operations. “I believe the Alaskan wild salmon has an incredible place in the marketplace,” Cooke said. “It’s a product that needs to be promoted. It needs to get huge coverage. The product is an incredible product and should be respected as that in the marketplace and we plan on doing that as a company. We believe the wild salmon has its niche. And we believe with working together with the farm product on the side enables us to be able to position that right with the retailers so they can get the premium and the benefit of what the wild should bring.”

Finally, Sino Agro Food a China-based investment company focused on protein foods, including seafood and cattle, carved out Tri-way Industries Ltd., the holder of enzyme technology master license for manufacturing of livestock feed and bio-organic fertilizer. The purpose for the carve-out is to provide Tri-way a means toward capitalizing on market conditions that currently support entities with strong aquaculture focus. For SIAF, that means becoming a 'solutions destination,’ supporting a wide range of agriculture endeavors through the delivery of value-added technology and world-class operations," said Solomon Lee, chairman and CEO of SIAF.

And for those that didn't get a chance to attend Urner Barry's Seafood Import Workshop held this week at Urner Barry's headquarters in New Jersey check out our Weekly Roundup Show for some video and pictures out of the event. 

Have a great weekend.

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Maine Officials Seek Input from Lobstermen Potentially Affected by Proposed Coral Rules

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] - March 3, 2017

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is seeking information from lobster harvesters in eastern Maine who might be affected by proposed coral regulations.

The New England Fishery Management Council is considering new rules that are designed to protect corals in the Gulf of Maine.

Two of the proposed Gulf of Maine coral protection areas are Outer Schoodic Ridge and southwest of Mount Desert Rock. One of the proposed management options is a total ban on fishing. The department has proposed to exempt the lobster and crab fisheries in these two coral protection areas.

DMR has already provided information to the NEFMC compiled from dealer and harvester landings reports and  ...

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MSC Streamlines Assessment in Pilot Program for Echebastar Indian Ocean Skipjack Tuna

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by Peggy Parker - February 24, 2017

The Marine Stewardship Council has developed a simplified assessment process and is running a pilot program to test the process in the Echebastar Indian Ocean Skipjack Tuna fishery, which failed certification in 2015.

The pilot program “aims to simplify the assessment process – reducing complexity and cost whilst improving effectiveness of stakeholder engagement and maintaining credibility,” according to MSC.

One of the reasons the Echebaster IO tuna fishery was not afforded the MSC logo two years ago was that the regional management group had not adopted a harvest control rule or reference points for the fishery, which in 2015 included skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission has since adopted these management tools....

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Red Chamber to Allow Federal Observers Aboard its Red Shrimp Boats in Argentina to Meet FIP Goal

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - February 17, 2017

Major US seafood importer, processor and distributor Red Chamber said it will participate with Argentina’s national fisheries research institute INIDEP in a fishery observer program for the inshore Patagonian pink shrimp fishery.

Argentina’s Patagonian pink shrimp are also known as red shrimp or Pleoticus muelleri. They are a wild-caught coldwater shrimp.

The fishery is harvested in two distinct sectors: inshore and offshore. The inshore fishery is comprised of day boats that catch shrimp for four to five hours at a time. Inshore fishing occurs between November and April. 

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How Alaskans Forced Snow Crab Prices Above $8.00; This Price Likely to Carry Through to Boston

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton - February 15, 2017

Reports from Japan say “Bering Sea Opilio Prices are escalating wildly above $8.00” due to the production cutback in Alaska.
 
As a result wholesale snow crab prices in Japan have smashed all records, and are up about 50% over last year.
 
As of this week, about 12.6 million pounds has been caught, and 9 million pounds remains to be fished, or about 41% of ...

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