Atlantic Scallops Price on the Rise as Import Volume Surge in the United States

Atlantic scallop

The price of large Atlantic scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) in the United States is on the rise, due to a significant decrease in catch during the early weeks of the 2024-2025 fishing season. The import volume of scallops has also surged in the first two months of the year, further contributing to the price increase.

Recently, at a seafood auction in New Bedford, Massachusetts, buyers purchased the largest U-10 scallop at an average price of $20.92 per pound, which is 20% higher than the price of $17.40 per pound during the same period last year. The average selling price of the second largest U-12 scallop was $19.47 per pound, representing a 14% increase from last year’s $17.14 per pound price.

These price increases are directly related to the inability of harvesters to meet demand during this year’s fishing season. Out of the 1552529 pound scallops that have landed at the New Bedford Auction (BASE) so far, only 1.7% are U-10 and 18.1% are U-12. By comparison, U-10 scallops accounted for 14.1% of the total catch last year, while U-12 scallops accounted for 13.6%.

The import volume of scallops in the United States has also surged in the first two months of this year. According to the latest updated seafood trade data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States imported 4497 tons of scallops, worth 81.5 million US dollars. The import volume increased by 12% year-on-year, and the import value increased by 23% year-on-year.

data of Atlantic scallops

Canada has taken the lead in exporting scallops to the United States, with 1644 tons worth $46.1 million imported in the first two months of 2024. This represents a year-on-year increase of 77% in export volume and 79% in export value. Japan has also experienced significant growth, exporting 1478 tons of scallops worth $25.2 million to the United States during this period. The export volume increased by 40% year-on-year, while the export value increased by 6%.

The increase in import volume and subsequent rise in prices can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, the growing demand for Atlantic scallops in the United States, driven by increasing popularity and consumption, has led to a surge in imports to meet this demand. Secondly, supply chain disruptions and logistical challenges due to COVID-19 have made it more difficult for domestic harvesters to meet the growing demand, leading to a reliance on imports.

Moreover, environmental factors such as climate change and ocean temperature fluctuations may have also contributed to the decrease in domestic catch and subsequent rise in prices. As Atlantic scallops are a keystone species in marine ecosystems, their abundance and distribution are closely linked to ocean health and environmental changes.

The increase in Atlantic scallop prices is likely to have a significant impact on seafood markets and consumers. Restaurants and retailers may pass on the increased costs to consumers through higher menu prices or reduced scallop offerings. However, this rise in prices could also encourage more sustainable fishing practices and promote conservation efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of Atlantic scallop stocks.

In conclusion, the rise in Atlantic scallop prices is a complex issue that is influenced by multiple factors including decreased domestic catch, increased import volume, and environmental changes. It is important for stakeholders in the seafood industry, government agencies, and consumers to work together to promote sustainable fishing practices, conserve Atlantic scallop stocks, and ensure a reliable supply of this popular seafood item for years to come.

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