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Phones of U.S. wholesales 'ringing off hook' with buyers for Canadian snow crab

Average prices haven't changed much, but Undercurrent seafood news reports today that "panic flames" are growing fast over the loss of the 2023 Alaskan snow and king crab seasons, which were cancelled last week as the result of a severe decline in stocks due to warming waters.

Newfoundland and Labrador's snow crab fishery is Canada's largest, with a landed value this year of $758 million — 21% more than last year's landed value of $624 million, and more than all other commercial fisheries combined.

The run on Canadian snow crab began soon after news broke of the shutdown of the Alaskan fisheries, with "lots of ordering going on."

U.S. buyers are nervous because not only can't they buy Alaskan crab, but Russian crab is also out of the picture because of an American ban, the result of Russia's war with Ukraine.

Driving the panic buying are articles carried around the world about the shut down of Alaska's iconic crab fishery due to climate change.

The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game has reported that Bering Sea snow crab population declined to one billion in 2021 from eight billion in 2018, with some predictions of an industry extinction.

A run may have started on Canadian snow crab, but that hasn't translated into increased snow crab prices just yet, according to Urner Barry.

Give it time.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.

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