Thursday, August 14, 2008

Revisiting a Theme: It Ain't Easy Being a Commercial Fisherman

The NC Division of Marine Fisheries has released their "Trends in North Carolina Seafood Prices." The Outer Banks Sentinel has summarized some of the findings:

For some species, like shrimp, croaker, and bluefish, the average price per pound in 2007 was lower than the price paid more than a decade earlier.

In 2007, shrimp averaged $1.88 per pound, compared to $2.61 in 1994.

Fishermen were paid $0.30 for bluefish in 2007, less than the $0.36 paid in 1995.

Croakers earned fishermen $0.37 per pound in 2007, but brought in $0.51 in 1990.

A direct correlation between growth of the global seafood market and downward spiraling prices for some, if not all, types of wild-caught seafood produced in NC is hard to deny.

The evidence that globalization has hurt NC fishermen is perhaps most compelling in the case of shrimp, one of the most important commercial fisheries in the state.

Unfortunately, as we see in many situations, opening up trade has led to winners and losers. This article does not directly mention the winners, the consumers of seafood. The consumers now have access to a less expensive product. Elsewhere in the global market, someone has a competitive advantage for many of these products.

There is no doubt that commercial fishermen are the losers in these situations, since they experience lower prices and rising costs.

No comments: