For months the market has been advancing for all species of tuna; Bonito, Skipjack, Yellowfin, Tongol, and Albacore. The main reason the market has been firm is that fishing hasn’t been good since there is a lack of raw material. To further exacerbate the problem, some countries such as Indonesia, have instituted fishing restrictions to help the fish population regenerate. It is now illegal to have carriage vessels transport fish from the ‘fishing’ vessels back to land, so the fishing vessels stay out at sea. The smaller fishing vessels can’t store enough fish on their boats to keep returning to land. Also, the declining fish population doesn’t swim as close to shore as they used to so boats now have to travel 100+ miles further to fish.
For some other oceans, a fishing ban (ending October 31st) has been implemented. Of course it makes sense to restrict fishing to help the population redevelop. We all want there to be enough fish for generations to come, but balancing supply and demand with social responsibility is a difficult business.
Skipjack raw material, which is the high volume industry standard, has been rising steadily throughout the year to now hover around $2,100/ton in Bangkok with no relief in sight. Typically around this time of year, it is a busy buying season for importers because they are purchasing their first quarter requirements. Due to higher prices and the shortage of fish, buying has been slow. Unfortunately, there is little doubt that the tuna market for all species will remain strong through at least January and we can expect to see some shortages along the way.