April 2015:


  • 2014 U.S. scallop season update: As best we can determine, it appears the reduction in days at sea will result in a 2 million pound reduction in the domestic scallop harvest.  Each vessel will have a reduction in days at sea of two days at an average of 3,000 to 3,500 lbs.of scallops harvested per day. With 313 active vessels the reduced days at sea equates to an approximate 2,000,000 lb. reduction.
  • The Maine Department of Marine Resources established management measures for the 2013-2014 scallop harvesting season in an effort to strengthen that fishery.  Part of their methodology includes limited access areas and targeted closures within three management zones.
  • As a result of a large cold storage facility failure over the summer of 2013 resulting in the loss of over 1 million pounds, Cod demand has been strong since then.  The supply of cod has never caught up in New England; which has kept the price strong.
  • The Maine shrimp season was a bust this year.  Now that the 2014 season is closed due to a lack of shrimp, this will leave many Mainers and tourists in this region missing this delicious option in their local restaurants.
  • Bristol Seafood found it interesting to learn there were 5 million pounds of ground fish alone caught by Maine fishermen last year, of which about 95% (4 ¾ million pounds) was sold thru the Portland Fish Exchange; just a walk across the parking lot from Bristol Seafood’s Corporate Office.


  • Similar to the Mid-Atlantic, North Atlantic landings of cod and haddock have been much lower than expected.  Even pollock, the primary species being caught in the Canadian Maritimes, has dropped off substantially.
  • With a commitment of $63 million Canadian or $61.2 million US, the Canadian Government is supporting their fishing industry by repairing and maintaining their important core fishing harbors in 2013/2014.
  • Bristol Seafood did not see an increase in volume for large haddock and/or large cod this year; which confirms the Canadian biomasses of these two species are still running small.  The shear numbers for the biomass of haddock seems to be strong, although they still need to grow to maturity; which is anticipated to occur in 2014. As a result, there is a new harvest size called snapper haddock which has been cutting out to 4 to 6 oz. fillets.



  • 2014 season update: As best we can determine, it appears the reduction in days at sea will result in a 2 million pound reduction in the domestic scallop harvest.  Each vessel will have a reduction in days at sea of two days at an average of 3,000 to 3,500 lbs.of scallops harvested per day. With 313 active vessels the reduced days at sea equates to an approximate 2,000,000 lb. reduction.
  • The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is proposing to enforce the reduced scallop quotas from this year’s season onto next year’s scallop season; which began January 2014.
  • The Peruvian scallop fishery has been upgraded to a sustainable fishery by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) so Bristol Seafood is now supplying this product to their customers.


  • Bristol Seafood has been receiving Canadian scallops; primarily 20/30s, although the average count on some of these landings fall into the 10/20 range.  This product has been very nice quality and they have seen a steady stream of this product.
  • Due to the 2012 season having above normal water temperatures; Canadian scallops grew faster, resulting in the 2013 average size being slightly larger than last year.
  • The new Canadian scallop quota started September 1st.


  • Bristol Seafood has experienced an increase in Japanese scallop demand; due to the strong domestic scallop price driven by the reduction in quota.  Bristol Seafood has solidified their relationships in the cold waters of Northern Japan, to ensure they can meet their customers’ demand.  Given the chance to cook and eat these dry Japanese scallops, their customers’ say they caramelize well and taste even better.
  • This season’s scallops have been smaller than expected and looking forward, Bristol Seafood feels this trend will continue into 2014.  The majority of product is ranging from a 16/18 count to a 27/36 count.  Due to limited availability, this is putting quite a demand on the larger Japanese scallops.
  • As a result of the demand for larger Japanese scallops, Bristol Seafood has secured a supplier for U10s.  Bristol Seafood is excited to report these U10s will not disappoint, so give them a try.


  • After the long closure by the Mexican government due to slow scallop growth; Bristol Seafood was expecting a good Mexican Bay scallop season.  The Mexican government closed the 2013 season early.
  • The Mexican ocean water has been warmer than usual resulting in scallop beds moving to deeper waters.  Since this is a diver harvested fishery, divers were getting the bends due to this increased water depth; so the government shut down this fishery to protect the divers.
  • Bristol Seafood will keep you posted, as we hear from our Mexican sources.


  • This fishery is now listed as sustainable by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI). As a result of this upgrade, Bristol Seafood has solidified relationships in Peru and will be sourcing firm, sweet, great tasting Peruvian scallops for their customers.
  • Bristol Seafood started a great 30/40 scallop program.  Also, due to the lack of other bay scallops, they are now looking at a program with smaller Peruvian scallops to meet this market place need.  They had a chance to sample this product internally as well as get them out to their customers.  Positive feedback proves these will be a great addition to their product line.

FAS Haddock:

  • As expected, on the coat tails of the 33% quota reduction in 2013 on the Norwegian long-line haddock season, the prices increased during the season and continue to creep up.
  • The biomass is as strong as ever but there has been a notable reduction in over-all size; resulting in the quota reduction to help these fish grow to maturity.
  • Bristol Seafood’s Norwegian sources are helping Bristol maintain their market leading quality, price, and volume for FAS Haddock.
  • Same as years past, Bristol Seafood has positioned themselves with plenty of inventory for this year’s sales.

FAS Cod:

  • Bristol Seafood is using their strong Norwegian partnerships to tap into the FAS Norwegian long-line cod market.  Bristol Seafood noticed this raw material is producing beautiful fillets.  This product is a great quality and an excellent option to combat the high fresh prices.
  • Bristol Seafood has heard the cod quotas in Iceland, Norway and Russia are increasing in 2014; this is in direct response to the global increased demand for wild cod, plus the biomass is strong enough to support the increase in quota.
  • Alaskan long-line cod is proving to be very consistent and readily available this season.  Pricing for Alaskan long-line cod has been dropping due to robust landings of this species.
  • Cod quota for the Bering Sea increased from 751,000 to 1,000,000 metric tons which is a 33% quota increase for this region.  This is a direct result of the great conservation efforts assuring this sustainable resource.  With the quota and landings increasing, prices globally are being driven down.



  • The east coast halibut from Canada has been a very good quality this year; plus Bristol Seafood saw a variety of all sizes; including whales (125 lbs and up).
  • Prices for fresh North Atlantic Halibut were very strong all season since the supply for this product fell short of the demand; prompted by less than favorable weather.
  • The Canadian Atlantic inshore halibut season quota has been caught and the season is now closed.


  • The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) set another quota reduction for the 2013 West Coast halibut season; down another 7.5% from the prior year. This decrease is in addition to the substantially lessened west coast production when compared to historical data.
  • The 2013 West Coast halibut season has now closed, leaving an estimated one million pounds of the nearly twenty-two million pound available for harvest, still in the ocean; which represents substantial income left on the table this year.



  • Maine salmon raised in “Down East” pens yielded $76 million in revenue last year; which represents 15% of the entire revenue for the Maine fishing industry in 2013.
  • Salmo solar, Atlantic species salmon, is being farm raised in Canada, Norway, the US, and even Chile.  Availability is becoming limited since one of the largest exporters in Chile is no longer shipping to the US.
  • The Chilean fillet market continues to trend weaker on all sizes. Due to the lack of business prices are trending lower. Canadian salmon supplies are limited based on slow sales and minimum availability prices are holding firm.


  • The USA has passed Japan as the top buyer of Vietnamese shrimp.  Bristol Seafood, for one, has enjoyed the quality and consistency of this White Vietnamese resource.
  • Bristol Seafood added some new shellfish suppliers that are known for consistent top quality, helping Bristol Seafood meet their shellfish volume needs during this past season.  A special thanks goes out to all their shellfish suppliers.
  • The winter results in a product shortage for mussels, steamers, and mahoganies.  Beds are iced in plus constant winter weather has made harvesting next to impossible.
  • Global supply for shrimp is still limited, resulting in an increase in prices.


  • Landings of North Atlantic sword fish are done for the season, so Bristol Seafood is tapping into other sources to meet their customer’s demand.
  • Bristol Seafood congratulates the crew of the Booby Trap sport fishing boat and the fisherman, Brian Barclay, for landing a massive 493 pound 107 inch sword fish from the Gulf of Mexico; which could be the new record.  It took four hours, while the 5 others on board were encouraging him, for Brian to land this massive fish on the boat.  This is no “fish tail” – Brian has the pictures to prove it – well done!


  • Bristol Seafood has noticed the inclement weather is limiting landings of tuna; which in turn is creating a short supply in the market place.
  • Japan’s Toyo Reizo Co. is excited about their fully sustainable blue fin farm raised tuna, projected to ship up to 500 tons in 2014. Estimates indicate it can take 3 to 4 years for these fish to reach maturity.  Will this be a wave of the future for blue fin tuna?

Eat seafood for a healthy mind.


Have a Great week!


Peter Handy

V.P. Business Development

Bristol Seafood


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