Snow crab prices plummet back to Earth, but buyers still aren’t biting
Snow crab prices in the U.S. market fell from USD 19.00 (EUR 17.77) per pound in January 2022 to USD 7.50 (EUR 7.01) per pound in January 2023, but sales have remained slow thus far in the new year.
The price remains more in line with historical averages from between 2019 and 2022, barring the spike in snow crab prices between May 2021 and March 2022 – “the poster child for some of the wacky things that went on” with shellfish pricing during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Clearwater Seafoods Vice President of Sales Rob O’Sullivan.
Speaking at the National Fisheries Institute’s 2023 Global Seafood Market Conference in Palm Springs, California, U.S.A. in mid-January, O’Sullivan said the market is in the process of returning to normalcy.
“I think we're going to get back to where we were. We're going to be okay on snow crab in general,” he said. “The market just needs to sort of continue to work itself out.”
Due to U.S. sanctions on Russian seafood imports, Russian crab supply is unavailable to the U.S. market and much of that product is now heading to Asia, Direct Source Seafood CEO Roman Tkachenko confirmed.
“The Asian markets have their pick of the litter on a good supply of product at a very cheap price,” Tkachenko said.
Canada, the world’s biggest supplier of snow crab, is expecting a stable supply this season with quotas up 33 percent over 2022, but with an unstable market, processors and fishing unions have been locked in a fierce battle over what prices to set, and it’s hard to predict the repercussions of that fight, O’Sullivan and Tkachenko said. But the biggest question facing the global snow crab market is U.S. demand, they said …
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