Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Scallop Prices On The Rise

I am a self-confessed scallop fanatic.  I love a great scallop.  I have stated in the past that you can judge a fish market by the scallops they sell, and there are a lot of choices out there.  There's the frozen product, the heavy, 4-6 day dipped, the 24 hour dip and the fresh, never dipped, and all are offered in different establishments across the country.  If you shop at our market, Black Salt, you will only find true, 'dry' day-boat scallops that have never seen a saline solution dip (this is the dip I reference above which adds water weight to the scallop).  Whether you are also a like-minded scallop connoisseur or just a plain ole' non-discerning scallop eater, I have some unfortunate news for you; you could be paying more for all types of scallop products for the rest of 2013.

The reason for the price increase this year is because days that the fishermen are allowed to harvest have been cut by 30% and the allowable landing per boat has been cut from 18,000 pounds to 13,000 pounds.  Couple this with last year's days' fishing cut of 20%, and you have fewer and fewer scallops available in the market.  Overseas demand has done nothing but spike.  Countries such as China, Taiwan, Australia, and UAE have increased their demand for our succulent scallop stocks and are also willing to pay higher prices for the best tasting scallops in the world.  This all bodes horribly for the rest of 2013, as demand will only increase and the cuts will not subside.

After talking to many suppliers, the only positive I can offer is that the Maine scallop season opens December 1st and it is projected to be a very successful one.  Maine scallops are decidedly delicious and when eaten only a few days out of the water are one of the better scallop experiences one can look forward to having.  Right now most scallops are being harvested from Canada and Massachusetts, with limited production.

Be careful though, just because prices are higher, it doesn't necessarily mean you are getting a better product.  When supply is tight like right now, many companies have big incentives to dip scallops longer to add more water weight.  This means that customers are paying the extra money for water, not scallop.  Be careful and take into consideration where you buy your fish.  Prices are going to increase, not just on the fresh, dry product, but on the frozen and dipped as well.  If you are going to be paying more money, shouldn't it be for fresh, delicious scallops, not water?

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