By Christine Blank, Contributing Editor
Published on Monday, March 19, 2012
A new Internet-based seafood trading service will allow buyers to contract for fresh product in forward time, as an alternative to the spot auction model.
Launched at the International Boston Seafood Show last week, FYSH-X has enlisted supermarket and restaurant chains as buyers, along with sellers that include farmers, trappers, longliners and gillnetters. The service will go live in April.
On FYSH-X’s exchange, vessels list the species and amount they plan to catch or harvest, along with biographies about their companies. Buyers can negotiate with the vessel for the catch for free via the service. If the contract is executed, a per-pounds fee based on species is split between the buyer and the seller. For example, FYSH-X assesses USD 0.01 per pound for redfish and USD 0.05 per pound for lobster.
“If a boat is going out and knows they are going to harvest 10,000 pounds of cod, our exchange can take any buyer who can get the fish from a loading dock or receive deliveries,” said Keith Flett, founder and CEO of Open Ocean Trading in Gloucester, Mass., which operates the exchange.
Open Ocean has agreements in place to unload product at multiple wharfs, including Beach Point, Prince Edward Island, and Point Judith, Rhode Island. The company plans to extend its reach throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the Gulf Coast and the Pacific Northwest. Within two years, Flett plans to expand FYSH-X to international markets.
Flett said he formed FYSH-X to provide a less volatile trading system than spot auctions. “A lot of vessels say they would like to avoid the spot auction because of price volatility. That is the biggest selling point for buyers and sellers,” he said.
Open Ocean is also working with Traceall in Glasgow, Scotland, to implement traceability in the Internet trading service.
“When a vessel is reporting, it [Traceall’s system] captures the data and puts it in an HTML file for buyers,” said Flett. “The data is very clean because it is what they are reporting to the government anyway.”