The Skipjack species of tuna typically drives the market. The raw material of Skipjack, the whole fish, now costs an almost record high $2,200/mt (metric ton=2,204 lbs.). As recently as 18 months ago, it was about half the cost it is today! With the Fish Aggregating Devices ban coming up in a few months, there is very little likelihood of prices retreating any significant amount. FAD are net devices used to catch large quantities of fish, so the 2-3 month ban helps the fish population regenerate itself.
As for albacore, market price is over $3800 now and with basically no fish available. The season of albacore in the Indian/Pacific Ocean has long ended and the next season is still a few months away. Packers are in the market now fighting for albacore raw material and prices are moving up on a day to day basis. The cold storage facilities in the northern area of Japan are nowhere ready to begin to rebuild, so the freezing capacity in northern Japan will be a huge question. Japan is a major world factor in albacore tuna. Some reports are that the Japanese government will set a catching restriction on its oceans this year, which will cause fishing vessels to go north for the catch. So all of these problems will definitely have an impact on this year’s summer albacore catch. We will have to very carefully monitor this situation. But from now until we are certain about the Japanese summer albacore catch volume, there seems little hope for any price drop on raw fish prices.
Tongol raw material is also short, and will be further stressed due to the strong albacore pricing which will force people to use the lower cost Tongol in place of albacore.