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Update: The offers as of this afternoon (Tuesday, June 15th) are $1.32/lb (FFAW) and 96¢/lb (ASP). Final offers must be in by 4 p.m. Thursday, or the price will be decided by the province's price setting panel. Summer price negotiations for shrimp began in St. John’s this week, with the FFAW reportedly coming to the table with a price of $1.40/lb vs. 90¢/lb proposed by the processors.
Those opening prices are lower than in April when the spring shrimp price was negotiated. Back then, the union proposed $1.50/lb and the Association of Seafood Producers came to the table with $1/lb — the price that the province’s fish price setting panel eventually went with.
Read the panel's report here.
The Gulf fleet (fishing zone 4R) refused to untie for $1/lb, although some boats from the northeast coast (fishing zone 3K) went shrimp fishing this week.
Unlike snow crab and lobster, which are at record highs, the $1/lb spring price for shrimp was a decline from 2020’s high of $1.18/lb, and 2019’s near record high of $1.78/lb.
LOWER OPENING PRICES THAN EXPECTED
This week’s opening shrimp prices are lower than expected.
In setting the spring shrimp price at $1/lb, the province’s shrimp price setting panel noted that unlike snow crab and lobster, which are at record highs, the price paid to NL harvesters for shrimp is down.
However, the price was expected to pick up as existing shrimp inventories drain, and because shrimp from Greenland, Canada’s main competitor into the United Kingdom, may be slapped with a 20% tariff this year.
It’s not known whether that tariff was introduced on Greenland shrimp.
The price of shrimp was also expected to rise as the economies of the European Union/United Kingdom emerge from the pandemic lockdowns.
A market report by Gemba Seafood Consulting this past spring made this prediction: “The UK demand for 2021 is expected to be low in the first quarter and will likely take up speed in the second quarter and will hence improve the global demand which may lead to increasing prices later in the year.”
US DEMAND ‘THROUGH THE ROOF’
North American seafood market analyst John Sackton said in April that shrimp had a “spectacular” year in 2020 as retail demand for frozen seafood in the U.S. went through the roof.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
When the fish price setting panel set the spring price of shrimp at $1/lb, it noted that the "right price was likely somewhere in between" the two offers of $1/lb vs $1.50/lb, but by law the panel must choose one price or the other — and no point in between.
That alone should tell you there's a problem with the province's panel system of price setting ...