Right after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada slashed the total allowable catch (TAC) for the Newfoundland and Labrador region 22 percent to 35,419 tons, crab harvesters received bad news on pricing.
On 4 April, the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel set raw material crab prices at CAD 4.39 (USD 3.27, EUR 3.07), an historic number and CAD 0.29 (USD 0.22, EUR 0.20) higher than what the Association of Seafood Producers in St. John’s, Newfoundland, recommended to the panel.
“We are running into a signficant risk here; the challenge is getting the price right,” ASP Executive Director Derek Butler told SeafoodSource. Already, there has been a decreased demand from Japan over the past two years due to higher snow crab prices, and the Alaska snow crab price is higher this year, he explained. Buyers may back off from Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab altogether with the new minimum dock prices.
ASP proposed the panel set the snow crab price at CAD 4.10 (USD 3.06, EUR 2.87) per pound to create price stability. The panel mistakenly based its price on spot market pricing reported by Urner Barry – currently at USD 8.00 (EUR 7.50) per pound wholesale – which it has never done in the past, according to Butler.
“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,” Butler said in an ASP statement. “This decision leaves processors and our plants exposed to a market collapse. It is a disservice to this industry, to be so cavalier about the future, or to think that a single reconsideration on price, provided for in legislation, can correct this.”
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