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Top Story: Buyer's Guide 2007

SeaFood Business Buyer's Guide 2007

SeaFood Business Buyer's Guide 2007
staff writers
November 01, 2006

To be a good seafood buyer, you have to have good information. And as margins keep shrinking, cutting-edge information is all the more important.

That’s what our annual Buyer’s Guide is all about. SeaFood Business editors and writers have spent the past few months taking the pulse of U.S. buyers and global suppliers to give you a focused perspective on what’s in store over the next 12 months for some of the most important seafood species on the market.

The resounding theme of this year’s Buyer’s Guide is higher costs. Wholesale prices are creeping up due to sky-high fuel costs, which affect everyone in the supply chain, from commercial fishermen and processors to importers and distributors.

Whether you’re a buyer wondering why your fish is more expensive or a distributor wondering when all the freight fuel surcharges will go away, in an industry highly dependent upon transportation, fuel costs dictate what you pay.

You can be certain that buying and selling seafood will never be easy. These days, even buying farmed product, once considered fool-proof, is not always a sure bet.

Demand for tilapia is skyrocketing, but getting the fish into the United States from China has been difficult lately. Chinese authorities have held up tilapia shipments while they test for malachite green, which is banned in the United States and Canada. Some importers have had orders delayed for upward of a month.

Prices of a few key species are up significantly this year. Prices of fresh halibut, which usually drop once the March-to-November harvest is under way, remained high this year, due largely to strong demand.

Fresh king salmon continues to fetch a pretty penny during Alaska’s summer salmon season; this year demand was heightened by the near shutdown of the Oregon and northern California salmon fisheries.

Prices of farmed Atlantic salmon also remained high this year, due to the consolidation of Canada’s salmon-farming industry and strong demand for salmon in general.

But there are some bright spots in this year’s Buyer’s Guide. Suppliers and buyers are rejoicing over an abundance of sea scallops, which has pushed prices down. King crab is also a bargain, with this year’s prices of red king crab almost $2 lower than in 2005.

And prices of Pacific white shrimp continue to trend downward, as Asian farmers are shifting their production 
focus from black tigers to the more cost-effective, more disease-resistant vannamei species.

In an industry where information means money, you’ll find that the Buyer’s Guide is well worth your time.

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