Market responds to poor supply outlook for Russian king crab
The supply outlook for Russian king crab is quite bleak for this year with the fishery in Murmansk ending on a downward note and prospects in the Russian Far East uncertain but surely not improving.
More specifically in Murmansk-led North fisheries the season formally ended in February but the last significant catch was made in January.
In January 2008 the Russian fleets harvested no more than 300 tonnes of red king crab, 2000 tonnes down on December 2007 and 400 tonnes down on January 2007 due to smaller fishing efforts.
Catches in February were mere 100 tonnes of red king crab that is 200 tonnes less than the previous month 2007 while the fishery of red king crab is prohibited from 15 February to 31 August (that is the period of crab's reproduction and moulting) according to the Fishery Regulations for the Russian North Basin.
In the Russian Far East the quotas for red king crab have been allocated for this year in a limited amount of (100 tonnes in the offshore (down from 3000 tonnes in 2007), 1760.297 in the inshore fisheries and 819.10 tonnes for scientific purposes). Moreover the outlook for this fishery is very uncertain because the State Fisheries Committee is pressing very hard for a total ban of commercial fishery for the species. However, should such order be maid it would be subject to approval by Russia's Ministry of Justice. In fact, the issue is quite controversial for this year because company quotas have already been allocated.
Meanwhile, according to BAMR, the average prices of Russian king crab in Japan have been increasing gradually since the end of 2007. In the first months of 2008 the frozen air-blast size L crab have been sold at a price of Y2000 per kilo.
The Japanese import volume in January 2008 has decreased by 6% and amounted to 1221 tonnes. Total import from Russia has come down by 12% up to 1045 tonnes.