Mahimahi prices on the decline
By James Wright, SeaFood Business senior editor
14 September, 2009 -
At this point in the year, mahimahi suppliers are working off their inventories after the domestic catch has wound down and ahead of the winter haul in Central and South America. Although supplies are almost entirely frozen, demand remains steady.
"It's a fish by itself," said one U.S. East Coast supplier when asked about mahi's competition. "It's so universal. It's known all over the world."
Driving mahi's popularity are casual-dining restaurants that menu the firm, white-fleshed fish. Thus, the market is now full of ready-to-cook portions, and prices are attractive.
Boneless and skinless frozen mahi portions out of Central and South America in August were priced in the low-USD 3 range for 4 ounces, mid-USD 4 range for 6 ounces and in the high-USD 4 range for 8 to 10 ounces. IQF mahi fillets, f.o.b. Miami, were all priced in the mid- to high-USD 2 range, down nearly USD 1 per pound from the same time last year.
U.S. commercial fishermen have landed just over 2 million pounds of mahi annually since 2005, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, so the supply is greatly dependant upon imports. This year's catch was reportedly steady.
But U.S. mahi imports are down substantially. Through the first half of this year, imports totaled 22 million pounds, down 21 percent from the same period in 2008. Last year's mahi imports were up 14.5 percent from the prior year to 41.4 million pounds. Ecuador, Peru and China-Taipei are consistently the leading overseas suppliers.
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