As we enter another challenging post-pandemic year, seafood commodities are rapidly becoming less volatile and more predictable. Most supply chain issues have been resolved, and the biggest question is how much demand will be out there in 2023.
Atlantic Salmon – The worldwide supply of Atlantic salmon could be called steady for now. Demand will surge with the beginning of Lent in a few weeks, putting upward pressure on the price. However, after Lent, demand will drop and coincide with an increase in market-size salmon for the second half of the year. This will lead to lower salmon prices in Q3 and Q4.
Wild Shrimp – Landings of large domestic shells on shrimp in the Gulf last fall were well below average. But with very weak retail demand, prices barely moved. Prices will inch slightly higher through the first half of 2023 but should fall after Texas opens at the beginning of July.
Farmed Shrimp – The major shrimp-producing countries, Ecuador, India, and Thailand, are breaking records exporting huge amounts of shrimp to their various global markets. Farmed shrimp prices are extremely low and represent one of the best values in seafood. Most raw peeled tail-on shrimp are well below 50 cents an ounce. Because of the lack of demand, prices will likely remain depressed through 2023.
Pasteurized Crabmeat – In the final three months of 2022, we saw an uptick in the price of pasteurized jumbo lump from Indonesia, Thailand etc. We don’t foresee that trend continuing in 2023. Jumbo lump was the only pick that got scarce. There is more than enough super lump, lump, and claw in the US to meet demand and more on the water. The lack of demand, both in retail and food service, will force crabmeat producers to accept lower prices this year.
Fresh Crabmeat – Venezuela is starting to produce fresh crabmeat again after the holidays. The harsh reality of slow January sales means that the price of fresh crabmeat will drop precipitously this month. The 33% run-up in the jumbo price in December caused a lot of “demand destruction”. Many customers moved away from jumbo lump to other picks (super, lump & superclaw).
The Venezuelans will need all those customers to come back in January as production volume climbs. The only way to do that is to lower prices significantly. This week the price dropped 15% to $23.95/lb, and we are looking for an additional 20% drop next week.
North Atlantic Sea Scallops – The “biomass” of Atlantic sea scallops continues to contract as it has in the last three years. The quota was reduced for the third year in a row, this time by 36%. To put that in perspective, Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in 2018 was over 60 million pounds of North Atlantic Sea Scallops.
In 2023, TAC will be about 25 million lbs. The biomass is much smaller, with most scallops counting 15 to the pound and above. Hence the almost $10 per pound difference between U/10s and 10/20s. There are some promising signs of “recruitment” or a population rebound. The Elephant’s Trunk, 30 miles east of Ocean City, is closed all year to allow the young sea scallops to grow. Look for 10/20s to be the value this year in the upper teens. U/14s in the low $20s per pound and U/10s in the mid to upper $20s per pound.
Prices are subject to change