2022 looks to be a year of adjustments, where theoretically, many of the “supply chain disruptions” of 2021 work themselves out. Chilean sea bass could be the poster child of supply chain bottlenecks. The fish are caught at the bottom of the world (Antarctica), frozen right on the boat it is caught on, and then offloaded in countries like Uruguay, Argentina, or Chile. From there, it is put in containers (40,000 lb frozen containers) and put on ships bound for the US.
Getting fish into the US last year took twice as long and cost double what it used to. Our ports were jammed up most of last
year, and freezer space was almost non-existent. The Chilean sea bass industry has only a handful of big-time players in it,
and one of those players last year had no fish for several months.
During that time, only a couple of people had inventory in-country, and like the fox guarding the chicken coop, they raised their prices every week. Now their fish, the Chilean sea bass, is, by far, the highest-priced fish in the entire seafood industry.
Customers vote with their wallets, and they are quickly choosing not to sell Chilean sea bass. No one has to have a $30 per pound skin off white meat fish. And as the price gets higher more 40,000 lb containers are bound for the US market. As sales
of Chilean sea bass slow down, inventories grow here in the US, and dealers get nervous. So as the saying goes, overpriced
40,000 lb containers of Chilean sea bass are like “lit sticks of dynamite,” you just don’t want them to blow up in your hand. If
they do, you stand to lose lots of money.