It is difficult to reconcile the difference in price between fresh Venezuelan crabmeat, which is cold pressure pasteurized with a 20-day shelf life, and the Indonesian pasteurized market today. Fresh Venezuelan jumbo is priced at $18.95/lb, while pasteurized Indonesian jumbo is $33/lb. During the pandemic, both prices moved almost in unison, peaking at nearly $60/lb. Currently, 97% of our customers are taking advantage of the savings from using fresh Venezuelan meat. The way it looks now, the “bumper crop” of blue crabs in Lake Maracaibo will continue through the month of June. Typically, the catch in the Lake slows significantly in July, and by the time conservation starts in mid-August, most picking houses around the Lake have closed. The $64,000 question is: where is the crabmeat going to come from during the conservation period?
From August 20th until the last week of October, Venezuela will not produce a pound of meat. Last week alone, 175,000 lbs of fresh Venezuelan meat went through Miami. That is a huge amount of meat to try and source somewhere else. Most likely, the demand will be met from a variety of areas. There will be fresh Mexican meat flown in twice weekly. There will be pasteurized Mexican meat crossing the border beginning in early August. Domestic picking houses in the Gulf and North Carolina will also produce meat. And of course, there will be some Indonesian pasteurized meat. Without question, fresh crabmeat prices will be much higher than they are currently. Pray for crabs!
Prices are subject to change