For the first time in four years, fresh halibut prices have tumbled with reports of some major buyers turning away deliveries. Others are only buying from long time boats.
Prices at Kodiak dropped about a dollar from the more than $7 paid on average for a few years running. Now restaurants and retailers are turning their backs on the exorbitant prices over such an extended period.
One commented: “Who in their right mind is going to pay $30 or more for a pound of fish?”
Not coincidentally, this year saw the highest opening wholesale prices on fresh halibut in four years at $9.25 per pound, compared to $8.10 last year and $8 the year before that, pointed out market expert John Sackton of Seafood.com.
“The Alaskan halibut market got ahead of itself this year, and as a result, major foodservice customers have been reacting to the high prices,” he said.
Adding to the hurt – competition from up to 12 million pounds of cheaper Atlantic halibut coming to markets from the eastern US and Canada.
Alaska’s Halibut and sablefish fisheries continue through November 7.
Tons of cod, pollock, flounders and whitefish of all kinds are still crossing the docks at Kodiak and Dutch Harbor.
No trawl fishing is permitted in the eastern Gulf of Alaska but it’s still a fall hot spot.
In Southeast, October 1 marked the start of fisheries for Dungeness crab, spot shrimp, geoduck clams, sea cucumbers and red urchins.
Trollers will be out on the water on the 11th for winter king salmon.
And a small red king crab fishery will open for the first time in six years on November 1.
Bering Sea crabbers will know any day the status of their fisheries, which open on October 15.
The North Pacific Council is meeting through October 11 in Anchorage. You can tune in online.
The state Board of Fisheries will review 18 agenda change requests at an Anchorage work session October 17-19.
Finally, Friday, Oct 6 is the deadline for entries in the Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition.