Market Report - 18-Dec-2018

What you need to know this week:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
As we approach the holidays one of our favorite traditions comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind – the Feast of the Seven Fishes! This is traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve, either enjoying seven different fishes or two different types of fish prepared seven ways. The tradition derives from the Roman Catholic custom of abstaining from eating dairy and meat on some holidays, one being Christmas Eve.

The beauty of The Feast of the Seven Fishes is that that we can incorporate fish into our appetizers and main dishes, making preparation much less of an undertaking. Try a Salmon Tartlet, an Oyster Cheese Log, or A Spicy Seafood Stew to get the party started. You can never go wrong with Seared Scallops, Shrimp Scampi, Red Clam Sauce over pasta or Cod Cakes.

It is not too late to incorporate a few Feast of the Seven Fishes inspired dishes into your specials over the coming week. Talk to your JJ Account Manager or Customer Service Rep today.


Fresh Seafood Updates from the Buyers

Wild Striped Bass – Fishing steady in the Chesapeake
Local fishermen are fishing to bring in fish for the Holiday – with the majority of catches remaining in the 5-8lb range, 8-14lb fish also hitting the docks at a premium. This looks to be a great choice through New Years.

Tuna – Market tightening up
With wind on the East Coast, and imports slowing with the dark side of the moon, prices have made the expected jump as demand increases for the holidays. #1 tuna made the greatest jump with premium fish fetching a premium price, prices are expected to remain higher than last week and rise through the new year as boats take off for the holiday.

Wild Blue Catfish – Cooling waters dragging down catch
The cold weather has pushed fish into deeper waters and reduced their movement and feeding, which in turns limits their landings. Prices are rising as is typical this time of year.

Grouper & Snapper - More limited compared to the last 3 weeks.
Weather challenges & boats have cycled out to get one last trip before the holidays hit. Inventory is changing daily on these items so check in. Prices are up off their cheap thanksgiving lows.

Mahi - Remains to be a home run
As Panama, Ecuador & Costa Rica all have heavy landings even during strong demand. Prices remain very low through Christmas.

Swordfish – Prices rising into next week
Importers are battling to get airspace into the States, with holiday demand high we are seeing prices rise over last week. The low prices the past week have discouraged boats from going out, which is also pushing prices up sharply. Expect these prices to rise into the New Year before falling again once demand slacks off and landings increase.

Walleye & White Bass & White Perch – Boats are out in between winds
Walleye remains steady with landings almost entirely in the medium grade. White bass continues to be tough to find as they aren’t being targeted. White perch out of the Great Lakes is running, with sizing’s okay, but we are starting to see great local Mid-Atlantic white perch being landed.

Flounder – Good catches
Catches are strong out of North Carolina and Virginia with the trawl season running well. Northern day boats continue to bring in nice fish as well, with prices moderate.

Black Bass – Landings increasing, prices falling
More boats are going out helping bring prices down. One of our favorite fish with versatile applications looks to be a good option through the end of the year and beyond as long as weather holds.

Boston Mackerel – product is tight
We have been able to pull some here and there. Day Boats are out but not bringing in a lot of fish. Prices have remained steady.

Skate – Plentiful and prices have remained stable.

Bluefish – Although we are seeing more fish Bluefish are still tight and prices are high.

Porgy (Scup) – Very tight and prices continue to rise due to demand.

Hake – Plentiful and prices are steady.

Whiting – Availability is spotty
Some product is available, but we really have to look for it. Prices are up due to demand.

EC Halibut – Boats are out longer
Smaller catches means inventory will be limited on this product. Prices are higher than we have seen in two years due to demand.




Lobster – Lobster wars have hit as the holidays are here
Limited catch out of Canada has put a strain on the market pushing prices upward for the holidays. Over 2 pounders have become very limited as the bulk of the run is chix & quarters. Quality has been very nice as early cold waters have really hardened the lobsters up.

Fresh Crab Meat - Prices push upward
Domestic fresh meat is landing out of NC & the Gulf but in limited amounts, as crabs become harder to catch & many plants close down for the season. Venezuela can’t keep up with our huge holiday demands so prices are rising daily, yet it remains the cheapest fresh or pasteurized crabmeat option. Big picture, the prices remain low compared to the entire market. Ask about our pasteurized MD & NC crabmeat along with our nitrogen frozen MD meat for the holidays.

Pasteurized Crab Meat - Imported crabmeat prices relax
As market demands ease and many move to fresh Venezuelan meat for the savings, we typically see the switch back right at the holidays as Venezuela prices are up & supply challenges happen for New Year’s & the week after. See your Account Manger for pricing updates.

Florida Stone Claws - Landing in limited numbers as a weak winter season continues
Numbers are down, put your preorders in early. Quality has been beautiful.

Squid – Plentiful and prices remain steady.

Scallops – Plentiful supply
Although plentiful, prices are up as we have seen increases the last few weeks due to Holiday demand.



Catfish (China) - Market prices remain higher
Price increases due to the 10% Chinese tariff that went into effect on September 24. The US and China agreed to a temporary, 90 day delay on increasing tariffs to 25%. Tariffs will remain at 10% The increase was originally planned for January 1. The agreement alleviates some market uncertainty as we head into the New Year.

Atlantic Cod - Prices are at or near record high levels
Caused by ongoing raw material shortages. Atlantic cod production is forecasted to decline 156 million pounds in 2019. Expect the market to remain under considerable upward pressure as buyers finalize purchases for the 2019 Lenten season. The 10% tariff on seafood products imported from China does not apply to Atlantic cod products imported to the US market.

Pacific Cod - Chinese packers continue to report raw material shortages
The supply situation will not improve in 2019. Global pacific cod production is forecasted to drop 959 million pounds driven by another quota cut to Alaska’s Bering Sea Pollock fishery. Expect robust demand as we head towards the Lenten season. The 10% tariff on seafood products does not apply to Pacific cod products imported to the US market.

Haddock - Global haddock production is forecast to decline
Estimated at 35 million pounds in 2019. The 10% tariff on Chinese imports is keeping prices elevated. The US and China agreed to a temporary, 90 day delay on increasing tariffs to 25%. Tariffs will remain at 10%. The increase was originally planned for January 1. The agreement alleviates some market uncertainty as we head into the New Year.

Grouper - Larger sized fillets from China are in very short supply
Inventory relief from Indian suppliers is not expected to reach the US until January at the earliest.

Mussels (New Zealand) - Prices are up
Availability is nonexistent from an ongoing algae bloom. ETA for new inventory is mid to late January 2019.




Happy Holidays
We will be closed Next Tuesday 12/25 to spend Christmas with our families, but will resume normal operations on Wednesday 12/26. For Wednesday delivery please leave your voicemail order by 11:59pm on 12/25, by calling 410.799.4000. From all of us at J.J. McDonnell, we wish you a very Happy Holiday!


JJ McDonnell would like to thank you for your business.
We value all of our partners and are here to help you succeed.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your experience with us better.