Catches remain very low coming out of Lake Maracaibo. The price of fresh jumbo lump entering the country is dropping each week, but not significantly. Over the years, we have been conditioned to expect a surge of fresh crab meat in November from Venezuela, usually causing a collapse in prices. However, this year is different so far. The fresh lump market price is primarily driven by retail buyers (grocery stores), not food service demand. It’s evident that American consumers are changing their spending habits. Fresh lump prices have fallen 33% since the season began in late October.
If we are indeed at the market’s bottom (historically, jumbo lump prices bottom around November 10th), it’s bad news for everyone. Assuming no changes in supply (with catches remaining low in Lake Maracaibo) and demand increasing around Thanksgiving and continuing into December, prices will likely rise.