Soaring Atlantic Scallops Price: Analyzing the Rising Cost Per Pound in the US Market


Overview of Current Scallops Pricing Trends in the US

The New Bedford Seafood Auction Market (BASE) in Massachusetts has reported a significant rise in the average landing price of Atlantic frozen scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) during the 2024-2025 fishing season. As the season progresses, the price for large specification scallops has notably increased, with the price per pound reaching new highs. For instance, the average price for U-10 scallops soared to $24.51 per pound in week 20, a substantial increase from earlier in the season and the previous year.

Detailed Breakdown of Scallops Price Per Pound Increases Across Specifications

Throughout the season, various sizes of scallops have experienced distinct price fluctuations:

  • U-10 scallops: Started the season at $17.54 per pound and escalated to $24.51 by week 20, marking a 40% increase within the season and a 56% increase year-on-year from $15.73.
  • U-12 scallops: Increased from $17.23 per pound in week 14 to $21.25 in week 20, a 22% increase during the season and a 50% increase from the previous year’s $14.13.
  • U-20 scallops: Though the price slightly decreased to $13.09 per pound in week 20 from $14.04 in week 14, it still represents a 23% increase from the previous year’s $10.65.
  • U-30 scallops: Dipped to $12.29 per pound in week 20 from $12.93 in week 14, yet this is still higher than the previous year’s $11.40.

These trends highlight a volatile market with significant price dynamics influenced by various factors including supply shifts and market demand.

Factors Influencing Price Variations

The primary driver behind the rising prices is the decreased supply of large specification scallops. Detailed market data from BASE indicates a drastic reduction in the availability of U-10 and U-12 scallops, which has put upward pressure on prices. Geographic distribution also plays a crucial role, with major landing sites like New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina impacting overall market supply.

Market Response and Industry Predictions

The seafood industry’s response to the fluctuating supply has been notably proactive. Market experts predict a shift in buyer preferences towards smaller and medium-sized scallops due to the high prices of larger scallops, which could lead to price adjustments across all specifications. This adaptive market behavior underscores the dynamic nature of seafood trading and pricing.

Regulatory and Environmental Considerations

The New England Fisheries Commission (NEFMC) has set catch predictions for the 2024-2025 season at 27.4 million pounds, reflecting a hopeful increase from the previous season. However, environmental factors and regulatory changes continue to affect fishing conditions, influencing supply levels and consequently, market prices.

Strategic Moves by Stakeholders

In response to these challenges, fisheries, auction markets, and other stakeholders are continuously adapting their strategies to mitigate risks and stabilize the market. These efforts include diversifying fishing efforts, exploring new markets, and adjusting catch strategies to meet regulatory standards and environmental conditions.

The current state of scallop prices per pound in the US market illustrates a complex interplay of supply and demand, regulatory impacts, and market adaptations. As the season advances, the industry remains vigilant, with stakeholders poised to respond to market shifts. The economic and environmental sustainability of the scallop fishing industry hinges on its ability to navigate these challenges effectively, ensuring the future viability and growth of this vital sector.

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