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Apr 21 - VIDEO: Gulf of St. Lawrence Snow Crab Quota Beats Expectations; European Whole Salmon Floods US


Apr 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday April 20, 2017


Apr 19 - Letters: Laitram Says Steam Cookers Catching on In NB Crab Industry with Quality Advantages


Apr 17 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday April 17, 2017


Apr 17 - Fortune Fish Expands into E-Commerce Seafood Sales With Deal to Buy Lobster Gram


Apr 12 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday April 12, 2017


Apr 12 - Tom Mazzetta Calls on Domestic and Imported Seafood Industries to Come Together to Promote US Sales


Apr 10 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday April 10, 2017


Apr 10 - Seafood Harvesters of America Opposes Modern Fish Act


Apr 7 - VIDEO: Newfoundland Crab and Shrimp Quotas Release; India's Shrimp Sales to Vietnam


Apr 5 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday April 5, 2017


Apr 5 - Phil Walsh of Alfa Gamma Critical of Plans to Raise Southern New England Lobster Carapace Size


Apr 5 - Seafood Refusals Down in Q1 But Shrimp, Mahi and Filth Still on FDA Radar


Apr 5 - Oregon Senators Urge Administration to Maintain Funding for National Sea Grant Program


Apr 3 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday April 3, 2017


Apr 3 - Camanchaca Gets MSC Certification for South American Langostino Lobster Fishery


Apr 3 - Canada will Ship Lobsters and Scallops to Europe Duty-Free as Early as May 1st


Mar 29 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday March 29, 2017


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


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VIDEO: Gulf of St. Lawrence Snow Crab Quota Beats Expectations; European Whole Salmon Floods US 




Full Story »

FFAW Says Hundreds of Crab Vessels Iced in Will Need Compensation Due to Late Start, As in Past

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union said that hundreds of snow crab fishing boats are being kept ashore by the ice that has built up around Newfoundland and Labrador. President Keith Sullivan called on the federal government to pay compensation to fish harvesters who are kept away from the fishery. "For many, E.I. benefits run out next week, which will leave families without any income for the foreseeable future, since ice is expected to be a problem until at least mid-May," the FFAW wrote in a statement.

New England regulators will allow lobster fishing in proposed deep-sea coral protection zones on the Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridges. The New England Fishery Management Council voted 14-1 Tuesday to ban most fishing in the canyons and plateaus where slow-growing, cold-water coral gardens flourish in the dark waters of the Gulf of Maine. But pleas from Maine lobster fishermen who say a trap ban in fertile gulf fishing grounds would cost them millions of dollars helped sway an initially resistant council to grant a lobstering exemption. The Council will vote on the exemption at its meeting in June.

In other news, Greenpeace released its annual sustainability rankings of canned tuna products sold in the US market. John Sackton writes how these rankings have almost nothing to do with tuna sustainability. "Instead, like other supermarket rankings undertaken by Greenpeace, the ranking system is used to reward banners that conform to Greenpeace’s ideology and punish banners that don’t," Sackton writes.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Seafood Institute and six other Gulf of Mexico seafood industry organizations endorsed North Pacific Fishery Management Council Executive Director Chris Oliver for the open position of Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “It is imperative that NOAA Fisheries be guided by an experienced Administrator with a solid track record of uniting these varying interests with a spirit of positivity and mutual respect,” the groups said in a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr.

Finally, biologists at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center cracked the code on how to spawn Pacific sardines in the laboratory, opening a new window on the life cycle of the commercially important species. Some in the industry hope it will better inform industry and managers as to what environmental factors would augment wild reproduction and recruitment.

Full Story »

EU Inspecting Mekong Shrimp Exporters for Possible Transshipment of Indian Shrimp Through Vietnam

Vietnam's Ministry of Trade confirmed that EU inspectors examined several shrimp exporters in the Mekong Delta under the suspicion that Indian shrimp is being transshipped to the EU market through Vietnam. Currently, EU import tariffs for Vietnam's shrimp are much lower than those for India. Particularly, the tariff for unprocessed shrimp imports from Vietnam is 4.2 percent, compared to 12 percent for India. For semi-processed shrimp, Vietnam's tariff is about 7 percent while India's is 20 percent. Officials with the EU said they will raise Vietnam's tariff rates for its shrimp shipments if transshipping is detected.

Fortune International has acquired the assets to online seafood distributor Lobster Gram in a deal that expands Fortune's market reach to consumers across the country. “I have always admired Lobster Gram and how [Lobster Gram founder Dan Zawacki] successfully started a live Maine lobster home delivery company from his parents’ garage, now that is entrepreneurship,” said Sean J. O’Scannlain, Fortune International’s President and CEO. “We have always considered entering the e-commerce business given the growth potential and what better way than with an icon like Lobster Gram that shares our commitment to quality service and products.” This is Fortune’s first acquisition of 2017 but just the latest deal that the Bensenville, Illinois-based seafood distributor has made since 2012. Fortune purchased JDY Gourmet in 2012, Chef Martin Old World Butcher Shop Sausage in 2014 and Coastal Seafoods of MN in July of 2016.

The retail market for Bristol Bay sockeye is looking good again this year because of a large push to chill majority of the fish and sell it as a premium product. Last year harvesters set a record volume for the amount of raw material they chilled. "This is huge for the retail potential of Bristol Bay," said Rebecca Martello, the association's executive director. "The fleet is making great strides to ensure Bristol Bay is a quality product and this definitely ties into all aspects of marketing and making Bristol Bay the premium brand we know it to be."

In other news, Chinese tilapia production was flat and the value of its exports fell last year. The industry says its needs to do a better job of developing more international markets to boost sales. In order to do this, producers and processors are being encouraged to increase overseas marketing efforts, develop more competitive brands and increase the quality of the fish.

Finally, the eight percent tariff on Canadian live lobster shipped to Europe will immediately disappear when the free trade deal known as CETA is signed, which could happen as soon as May 1. This coincides with the spring lobster season opener in P.E.I. "For the lobster sector it will mean tariff free access to 27 countries in Europe over the next number of years," said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada. "[That] will give us, hopefully, an advantage in that market as we compete against other seafood products and other proteins in a market that has 500 million people."

Full Story »

Quinlan Bros. Starts Snow Crab Processing at Rebuilt Plant in Bay de Verde

Quinlan Brothers Ltd. announced on Tuesday that a small quantity of snow crab will be run through the processing line to ensure the plant is ready as boats begin returning to shore with their first landings of the new season later this week. The plant will process only snow crab this season, but the company is preparing to expand into groundfish when stocks allow. Around a year ago the Quinlan Brothers' processing facility burned to the ground, which had widespread implications for Newfoundland's snow crab industry from the people the plant employed to buyers that had lined up snow crab deals for the season.

The Russian Federal Fishery Agency officially announced that it will hold an auction for the distribution of crab quotas in the Far Eastern fishing basin on May 18-19 of the current year. The auctions will allow companies to control crab quota through 2026. The quotas will include all of the major crab species in particular species of king crab, helmet crab, and opilio crab in major crab-producing areas.

A report on raw material prices for Vietnamese shrimp shows prices are up 24 percent since 2016 and are at a two-year high. Lack of domestic shrimp in the market has been attributed to the spike in prices this year. The Vietnamese have stepped up importing shrimp from foreign suppliers like India in order to meet the needs of processors.

We run an opinion from Tom Mazzetta who calls for increased cooperation between domestic and imported seafood operators in the United States. Mazzetta points to the success of the Maine lobster and Alaskan salmon industries as examples of how domestically sourced and imported seafood products can coexist in the US. "We need to come together as an industry to support increased seafood consumption as an overall goal, not only for the benefit of our collective bottom-lines, but for the health benefits of eating more seafood, the environmental benefits of seafood production versus other proteins, and to address regulations that artificially inflate prices for American shoppers and diners," said Mazzetta.

Finally, dire West Coast ocean salmon seasons haven't officially started but are already affecting non-salmon fisheries such as sablefish and Pacific whiting writes Susan Chambers. The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved no summer salmon seasons in parts of Oregon and California and limited seasons on the rest of the coast to protect struggling stocks such as coho in Washington and Klamath fall Chinook and Sacramento winter Chinook in Oregon and California. Sablefish harvesters will get increased trip limits to help avoid salmon conflicts, and the whiting fleet will get a special additional bycatch allocation since moving out of Klamath salmon areas will force them into a higher bycatch zone.

Full Story »

News Summary April 10, 2017

Today's Main Story: Western Rock Lobster Price Falls Due to a Drop in China Demand, Cheaper American Exports

Headlining the nws, the value of premium species of lobster sourced from Western Australia has plummeted, causing the lucrative industry to grind to a near halt. The western rock lobster 'beach price', which is the price professional fishers receive direct from processors, has slumped to about $50 a kilogram. Compared to six months ago, the price has shed about 30 per cent of its value. Almost all the western rock lobsters, caught on the continental shelf mainly from Perth to Geraldton, are exported live to China. A seasonal drop in demand from the Chinese market, along with the strengthening of the Chinese Yuan bearing down on Australia's return in the exchange rate, are major factors behind the price fall. Cheaper lobster from America is also suspected as cause for lower prices. The emergence of America as a key exporter of a more affordable lobster to China is also thought to be contributing to the problem.

Full Story »

VIDEO: Newfoundland Crab and Shrimp Quotas Release; India's Shrimp Sales to Vietnam

Full Story »

Phil Walsh of Alfa Gamma Critical of Plans to Raise Southern New England Lobster Carapace Size

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton April 5, 2017

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is taking public comments until April 7th on a series of measures to manage lobster stocks in Southern New England, Long Island, and New Jersey.

The measures include changing the minimum lobster carapace size to 3 1/2 inches, adopting some of Maine's protections for female and egg-bearing lobsters, and exploring seasonal closures, and where the management measures might apply.

Phil Walsh, of Alfa Gamma Seafoods, has written a critical comment on the proposed increase in carapace size. Maine currently has a 3 1/4 inch minimum carapace size. in Southern New England, the minimum is now 3 3/8 inches. One proposed action would increase this to 3 1/2 inches in Southern New England.  Walsh says the increase would result in economic losses for companies that sell smaller size lobsters. Southern New England accounts for around 10% or so of total lobster landings.

Full Story »

Oregon Senators Urge Administration to Maintain Funding for National Sea Grant Program

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Susan Chambers - April 5, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Democrats, joined 21 of their senate colleagues in urging the president to reconsider his proposal to eliminate the $73 million National Sea Grant College Program in his fiscal year 2018 budget.

In a letter to Pres. Trump, the senators highlighted the important role Sea Grant programs play in boosting local economies and preserving coastal communities, and urged him to fully fund ...

Full Story »

Camanchaca Gets MSC Certification for South American Langostino Lobster Fishery

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 3, 2017

Camanchaca has attained Marine Stewardship Council certification for its langostino lobster fishery in Chile. This is the fifth fishery in South American to earn MSC approval.

“While Camanchaca has always been a responsible fishing and aquaculture company, we have found that demonstrating our dedication to sustainable practices has become increasingly important as our customers become more environmentally conscious,” said Bert Bachmann, President of Camanchaca Inc. “This certification is of great importance to our company and we are incredibly proud to hold ourselves to MSC’s high standards.”

Full Story »

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

After a cold March, ice is thick in the harbor at Caraquet in New Brunswick writes John Sackton. 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 this would push back the opening of the Gulf crab season to the week of April 23rd, the last week in April. The industry is looking at a doubling of crab quota in this area and is anxious to start the season.

A report released last week by the Ecology Action Centre said Canada's seafood labeling standards are the vaguest compared to the EU and US. Basics such as the species' scientific names, along with how and where the fish was caught and processed, should be on the labels the Centre said. "It's shocking that our products from Canada are being sold with more detail in the United States and the European Union than they are in Canada," said Colleen Turlo, a spokeswoman for the Centre.

In other news, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will open up a process next week to redesign the Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan. The Council is tentatively scheduled to hear the first discussion paper prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service on what the plan could look like and how they should proceed during the council’s meeting April 6 in Anchorage. The federal rulemaking process can take multiple years, so the council will have to reach a working plan to allow the fisheries to operate for the 2017 season before moving forward with a finalized fishery management plan.

Meanwhile, due to budget cuts to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, biologists used an average of the last 37-years to estimate 2017 biomass for Togiak herring. Normally, the spawning biomass would have been estimated in 2016 by aerial surveys. But no estimates of age composition in the 2016 harvest were made. “Because that data is no longer available to us, we forecast the 2017 biomass as the average spawning biomass for all years for which we have data (1978-2015) less 10% in order to be conservative,” wrote Tim Sands, Area Management Biologist in Dillingham.

Finally, the Olive Garden posted an increase in same stores last quarter that was far above analysts expectations and its shrimp scampi is getting a lot of credit for the turnaround. The Darden-owned Italian chain revamped its menu to adapt to shifting consumer tastes, including a greater focus on cutting calories. Olive Garden's low-calorie shrimp scampi was the best selling option in January, beating out the restaurant's popular chicken alfredo entree. Analysts said Olive Garden's sales rebound was a key factor in Darden's largest stock market rally in the last three years.

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 ...

Full Story »

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...

Full Story »

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 ...

Full Story »

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 ...

Full Story »

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.

Full Story »

Letters:  Laitram Says Steam Cookers Catching on In NB Crab Industry with Quality Advantages

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Letters]  April 19, 2017

Hello John

I wanted to write you to express our disagreement with the below excerpt from the April 18th article in Seafood News (Japanese Crab Negotiations with Newfoundland Full of Uncertainty):

They don’t think the plant capacity is there. Some of the Gulf packers are reported to be looking at introducing steam cookers, that can boost throughput by 30-40%, but the Japanese think this might lead to lower quality products.

Our company, Laitram Machinery, has spent over 60 years applying science to cooking seafood. We have installed more than 150 of our patented CoolSteam Systems all over the world; it is the preferred solution for cold water shrimp, aquaculture shrimp, crab, and lobster.

We are indeed commissioning 4 new Laitram systems in Quebec and New Brunswick...

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Fortune Fish Expands into E-Commerce Seafood Sales With Deal to Buy Lobster Gram

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 17, 2017

Fortune International has acquired the assets to online seafood distributor Lobster Gram in a deal that expands Fortune market reach to consumers across the country.

This is Fortune’s first acquisition of 2017 and just the latest deal that the Chicago-based seafood distributor made since 2012.  Fortune purchased JDY Gourmet in 2012, Chef Martin Old World Butcher Shop Sausage in 2014 and Coastal Seafoods of MN in July of 2016...

 

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Tom Mazzetta Calls on Domestic and Imported Seafood Industries to Come Together to Promote US Sales

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] Opinion by Tom Mazzetta - April 12, 2017

Tom Mazzetta is the founder and CEO of Mazzetta Company, LLC

We need to come together as an industry to support increased seafood consumption as an overall goal, not only for the benefit of our collective bottom-lines, but for the health benefits of eating more seafood, the environmental benefits of seafood production versus other proteins, and to address regulations that artificially inflate prices for American shoppers and diners. We are not talking about steel, auto parts, or sugar. We are talking about healthy food...

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Seafood Harvesters of America Opposes Modern Fish Act

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - April 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. – A new bill focused on recreational fishing has drawn strong opposition from the nation's largest organization of commercial seafood harvesters.

SHA clams that The Modern Fish Act would hamstring federal regional fishery councils’ ability to manage the fishery sector and most species, while also limiting the ability to innovate new solutions to overfishing...

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Major Fishery and Processor Associations Ask Gov. Inslee's Council Recommendations be Withdrawn

Four major West coast and Alaska organizations have expressed outrage over Washington Governor Inslee’s nominations for new appointments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The groups have written to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, asking that the Washington State nominations be returned and that the Governor be asked to follow the state’s public appointment process. We provide the full letter sent to Secretary Ross in today's story.

The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) says the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel decision on raw material snow crab prices compounds bad news on quota cuts and places the industry at substantial risk of a market collapse. “The market reports contracted by the province were both clear,” said Derek Butler, Executive Director of ASP. “Consumption is reducing, the price has gotten too high, and it is spot pricing in response to quota reductions in Alaska and here that is being used. That is wrong. It is not the reality of our snow crab industry.”

In other news, the North Korean port of Rajin continues to remain biggest transit hub for illegal sales of Russian crab in Asia-Pacific region. According to the Russian Association of Crab Producers, currently about 500 tons of illegal crab supplies from Russia are delivered to the North Korean seaport and to the Chinese town of Hunchun each month. These figures are growing since the situation is aggravated by extremely low prices for Russian crab the Producers say.

Meanwhile, FDA seafood refusals in March were just about the same compared to last March as mahi, shrimp and filth remain on inspectors' radars. However, federal seafood rejections are well below levels recorded through the first quarter in 2016 because of notable declines in snapper, lobster and tuna refusals.

Finally, Alaskan halibut production during the first month of the season is lower from last year because of inclement weather. Wholesale prices for Pacific halibut are now moving higher with inventories limited ahead of Good Friday. Alaska's halibut got off to a slow start in March because of poor weather, but production picked over the next few weeks. However, another round of bad weather has pinched production ahead of Easter. Traders say they will be closely monitoring Alaskan halibut production and supplies over the next week as demand could go higher in preparation for the last week of the Lenten season.

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Seafood Refusals Down in Q1 But Shrimp, Mahi and Filth Still on FDA Radar

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - April 5, 2017

FDA seafood refusals in March were just about the same compared to last March as mahi, shrimp and filth remain on inspectors' radars. However, federal seafood rejections are well below levels recorded through the first quarter in 2016 because of notable declines in snapper, lobster and tuna refusals.

The FDA refused 209 line items of seafood in March, which was just one line item higher from last March. Like last year filth was the top reason for rejections and accounted for 35 percent of the month’s refusals...

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Newfoundland Snow Crab Quota Set at 35,419 Tons, 22% Less Than Last Year

The Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans has announced snow crab quotas for the fishing areas around Newfoundland. The overall quota will decrease around 22 percent from last year's quota. The major reduction by volume is in area 3L. The 3K area quota did not get cut significantly while the 3PS the quota was slashed 50 percent. Prior to the release of the quota, industry estimates were that about 33,000 tons would be allowed in Newfoundland. So the DFO numbers are slightly more favorable than expected. The fishery will start on April 6th in most parts of 3L and 3Ps, and April 14th in 3K.

A team of seven respected fisheries scientists, led by Prof. Ray Hilborn, Ph. D., of the University of Washington, found that predator populations are less dependent on specific forage fish species than assumed in previous studies. These findings counter a previous study that argued forage fish are twice as valuable when left in the water to be eaten by predators, and recommended slashing forage fish catch rates by 50 to 80 percent. “Forage fish provide some of the lowest environmental cost food in the world – low carbon footprint, no water use, ” Dr. Hilborn said. “[There are] lots of reasons that forage fish are a really environmentally friendly form of food.”

In other news, by as early as May 1st the free trade deal between the EU and Canada, known as the CETA deal, will come into effect. This means the duty rates for some Canadian seafood exports to the EU market, including live lobster, will drop to zero essentially overnight. Both the US and Canada currently have the same duty rates for live lobster exported to the EU, but this will all change under CETA. This means Canadian producers will get a significant export advantage over Maine's lobster industry. This could put the US in a position where they may have to reduce their lobsters prices to compete with Canadian shippers.

Meanwhile, the pink shrimp season in Washington, Oregon and California officially stated over the weekend on April 1. But this year, many boats are still in port and many haven't even put shrimp nets on their vessels. The few who did test the waters found female shrimp that haven't dropped their eggs yet. Some of the shrimp on the grounds are in the 350-500 size or smaller. Fishermen said they would prefer to have the 250-350 size or larger, as it fetches a better price. They said much of the current global inventory of coldwater shrimp is in the 350-500 size.

Finally, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey were asked to support a state-sponsored bill that would allow for the sale, processing and transport of lobster parts in the state of Massachusetts. The bill was co-sponsored by 13th Bristol District Rep. Antonio Cabral and is supported by Seatrade International, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and Ed Anthes-Washburn, the executive director of the Harbor Development Committee. Proponents of the law say it will create more jobs in the state. The practice is already legal in Maine and New Hampshire.

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Canada will Ship Lobsters and Scallops to Europe Duty-Free as Early as May 1st

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  April 3, 2017

The Canadian Free trade agreement with the EU, called CETA, has been in the works for years, but its first real fisheries effects are about to be felt on both sides of the border.

As early as May 1st the treaty will come into force.  The final step is the final ratification by the Canadian parliment which is likely to occur this month or next month at the latest.

Most observers think May 1st is the most likely date.

As is usual in most trade agreements, many of the tariff reductions are implemented over time.  For example, there is a 6% European tariff on frozen lobster from Canada.  During the first year of CEYA, this will decline to 4.5%.

But some items will have duty removed immediately.  Among them are live lobster, monkfish, and frozen scallops....

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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...

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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... 

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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.

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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 

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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...

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