After almost two years of record-high snow crab prices, the market is falling and falling fast. Today, fishers are catching snow crabs from Nova Scotia through the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a huge area! Quotas increased dramatically (33%) to almost 90,000 metric tons or nearly 200 million pounds!
Adding to the downward pressure is leftover inventory from last year. With a slug of products hitting the market this month, dealers search for a price to entice buyers. At this point it looks like 8 up clusters are down over $4, selling for about $15.95 a pound. 5/8 clusters are
also down, selling for $14.95 a pound. If and how much further they fall is the question, which is largely dependent on consumer spending. Below is the market update from Downeast, our primary snow crab supplier.
Gulf of St. Lawrence- 2022 quota increased 34% to 32,519 metric tons. Fishing started last Wednesday, April 13. Pricing has not been determined yet.
Newfoundland and Labrador- 2022 quota increased 32% to 50,470 metric tons. The Price setting panel decided on a $7.60/lb CAD price for the fisherman to start the season for live crab. Fishing began April 4 but is just picking up, with limited product entering the U.S.
Marketplace demand early on has been tempered by an overhang of last year’s inventory from Canada, Russian product that is being de-valued, and price concerns among end-users. It’s anticipated that both foodservice and retail crab purchasing will be more price-sensitive this year as fiscal stimulus winds down and inflation and gas prices create uncertainty around consumer spending.
Pricing for new season product has yet to be fully established. With the Gulf opening on April 13 and Newfoundland product expected to start flowing with volumes, we anticipate an established market for volume trade by the week of April 25.
Prices are subject to change.