Iceland Fishing Crews Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike Nov. 10th if no Agreement Reached
Several contentious issues in the structure of the Icelandic fishing industry are coming to a head, with the fishermen's unions overwhelmingly voting for a nationwide strike on November 10th. There are two primary issues that are sparking the possible strike. First, the crews are dissatisfied by the gap between the auction prices and prices paid by the vertically integrated companies that do not go through the auction. A second, and possibly bigger issue, is a tax that vessel owners are charging crew members of new vessels. Should the strike take place November 10th, it would significantly disrupt fresh cod markets in the US and the UK. The longer term consequences would depend on how long the strike goes on.
According to buyers in Japan, red snow crab has been staying in a high price zone in continuation from last year. This means Japanese buyers looking towards other species outside of Alaska snow crab are not going to find price relief from that item. Japanese fishing sources said the main cause of the higher red snow crab prices because of the decline in Japan’s imports from Russia.
In other news, East Coast shellfish harvesters from Maine to Rhode Island are in the midst of an unprecedented wave of harvesting closures this fall because of high levels of toxins in the waters. The problem has been two-fold since the start of October. Issues started in Maine when officials confirmed the first ever outbreak of domoic acid in East Coast waters and shut down shellfish harvesting. The domoic acid outbreak spread to shellfish harvesting areas in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, prompting similar closures. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, raw oyster consumption was linked to sickening 75 people with Norovirus. This prompted state health authorities to close oyster harvesting in Wellfleet and take raw oysters off the town's annual OysterFest menu last weekend.
Meanwhile, Alaska's crabbers are hoping to get high prices for their harvests this season in order to offset sharp cuts to the quota. Due to the lower quota, crabbers will have trouble making the fishery fiscally solvent. Even with a big spike in prices, the ex-vessel prices paid to crabbers won’t likely make up for the quota declines. Alaska's red king and snow crab seasons started on October 15 and early harvest reports say the crabs look good and heavy with pots full.
Finally, the Vietnam Australia Seafood Company, known as Viet-UC,is now the world's largest shrimp seedstock producer and has plans to increase Vietnam's overall aquaculture output. The Vietnamese and Australian company has successfully built a shrimp seedstock hatchery and feed producing operation and wants to expand its shrimp production venture and farm more seafood species like catfish.
We've posted a new episode of our Seafood News podcast show, which recaps some of our tops from late last week and earlier this week. We also recap some seafood import data and FDA refusal figures. Download or stream our podcast content to your iPhone or Andriod device using iTunes, Google Play or SoundCloud.
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