Early swordfish season results in active market

Published on
June 18, 2012

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The unusually warm North American winter is bringing on the swordfish season earlier than usual. While the season typically begins in early July, some vessels have been fishing healthy supplies of North Atlantic sword since early June.

“There is a lot of stuff out of Miami, and the Canadian market is starting to open up. Fishermen out of North Carolina and Florida are catching quite a bit,” said one U.S. Northeast seafood distributor. 

Buyers report that North Atlantic swordfish are of good quality this season and larger than usual, which is expected to strengthen prices. 

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Previous market reports: 

18 June: Brazil’s young tilapia industry growing 

11 June: Tilapia a strong seller despite record prices 

4 June: Japan hesitant on Mauritanian octopus 

28 May: Continued success for Barents Sea cod 

21 May: For Copper River salmon, buyers balance desire with price 

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Current domestic prices range from USD 5.50 to USD 7.50 a pound wholesale for 100s and between USD 5.50 and USD 6.50 a pound off the dock. Small swordfish is priced at around USD 6.50 a pound wholesale, according to the distributor.

Meanwhile, imported swordfish prices are ranging from USD 4 to USD 6.50 a pound wholesale for 100s.

“There is a lot of cheap stuff from South America, but the price is going to start coming up. South America will die down in four to five weeks because of the heat,” said the distributor in mid-June. Supplies from Ecuador and other South American countries have been plentiful so far this year, but their swordfish season will likely wrap up around mid-July, he explained.

Distributors say their buyers prefer to purchase domestic swordfish, if the price is right. “If there is enough around, people want to buy domestic,” said one U.S. seafood distributor. “By and large, we sell 80 percent domestic swordfish.” 

“The [North American] fish are exceptional quality. What brings the market down is imports,” said another U.S. seafood distributor.

Contributing Editor

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