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Will Skipjack Prices Drop Again During October? What Did You Think?

Our latest homepage poll asked our readers: “Will skipjack prices drop again during the month of October this year?” Responses identified a divide in opinion with a small majority of 53 voters answering yes.

When skipjack catch is lower, the limited supply stresses the rising global demand, which in turn often drives prices up.

One of those limiting factors each year between July and October are the IATTC annual fishing ban on the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), taking around 50 percent of purse seiner over 400 M/T out of operation in August and September, and also the 4 month FAD fishing ban in the WCP (Western Central Pacific Ocean), which usually causes a fall in skipjack landings.

During these two ban periods the trend has been over the last few years for skipjack catches to drop in both oceans, often driving prices up. At the close of September, when the IATTC ban comes to an end, prices can often be seen to stabilize or even slightly soften again, resulting in a more evident downward trend during October. In a previous poll, we found that the majority of our readers believed the ideal raw material price for skipjack was USD 1250-1400 per ton CFR Bangkok. Quotes in October have been seen to drop in 2010, as low as USD 1030, but major buyers do not expect to see any levels close to this in 2013, mostly due to the relatively low skipjack catches in the WCP.

Nevertheless, a considerable 47 percent of voters on believed that October wouldn’t witness a fall in skipjack price. Recent reports have revealed that the Ecuadorian tuna fleet has seen strong increases in catches despite being subject to fishing bans in the EPO. But in the balance, the much larger WCP catch weighs heavier in setting the price trend.

In our newest poll we are asking: “Will Bolton’s buying into Tri Marine create a stronger tuna power block?” You can have your say by voting on our homepage at