US to Increase Imports of Japanese Scallops in 2024

pictures of sea scallops in japan

This year, there has been a significant decline in domestic scallop production in the United States. This, combined with the strengthening of the US dollar and China’s ban on Japanese seafood, is expected to result in a large influx of Japanese scallops being imported into the US in the coming months.

According to Bristol Seafood‘s 2023 interim report, Atlantic scallop production in the New England region has decreased by 60% as of September. With the holiday season approaching, local scallop prices are rising, and consumers are likely to face significant price pressure.

Since the start of the American Atlantic scallop season on April 1st, production has been limited to 25 million pounds, down from 26.6 million pounds last year, following NOAA’s Framework Adjustment 36. As of October 4th, the fishing volume reached 18.5 million pounds, with September’s production at less than 600,000 pounds – a 64% decrease from the previous year.

Bristol Seafood predicts that US scallop production will continue to decline by over 60% in the next six months. The outlook for next year’s production is uncertain, leading to an increased reliance on imported scallops in the US market.

US Atlantic sea scallop landings

From January to July this year, the US imported 13,296 tons of scallops, a 26% decrease from the previous year, valued at 193 million US dollars. Japan, as the second-largest source of scallop imports for the US after China, supplied 3,112 tons of Japanese sea scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis), a 46% decrease from last year, valued at 64.2 million US dollars.

The strengthening of the US dollar and China’s ban on Japanese seafood are driving an increase in US imports of Japanese scallops. The exchange rate of the US dollar against the Japanese yen has risen by 13% this year, and with the absence of demand from the Chinese market, which previously accounted for a third of Japanese scallop imports, the US is turning to Japan for its scallop needs. Bristol Seafood’s report highlights the abundance of Hokkaido scallop production in Japan, particularly in the 10-20 and 20-30 size categories. The market is expected to see an influx of U10 specification Japanese scallops, offering unprecedented value.

The growing dependence of the US market on Japanese scallops is a result of domestic production challenges and global market shifts. As the US seeks to fill the gap left by decreased domestic supply, Japanese scallops are becoming a crucial component of the American seafood industry.

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