Author: Christine Blank
Buyers should expect higher prices for Chilean salmon this week ahead of Hurricane Irma, which hit several Caribbean islands as a Category 5 storm and is expected to make landfall in Miami, Florida, early 10 September.
Tim Lycke, owner of IncredibleFish, a major seafood importer and exporter in Miami, said Chilean salmon suppliers are monitoring the storm closely and adjusting their harvesting and supply accordingly. IncredibleFish’s large Chilean salmon supplier, Multiexport Foods, will not be harvesting fish, likely through next Tuesday, “until they figure out the outcome of the storm,” Lycke said.
“You’re going to see a very tight supply, and an upward climb in the price. The price has already started climbing,” Lycke said.
Flights from Santiago, Chile, to Miami International Airport will be canceled this coming weekend, as MIA is expected to suspend flights before the storm hits.
“Nothing will be able to get into Miami or Orlando freight-wise, which is going to bring the price up,” said Lycke, who expects stronger prices to last until mid-next week.
Likewise, Miami-based Camanchaca expects a disruption in supply of its Chilean farmed salmon and other products.
“All our product that normally arrives in Miami for U.S. distribution is at risk,” Bert Bachmann, U.S. strategic development director for Camanchaca wrote in a letter to customers.
The importer and supplier expects an MIA closure to be announced soon, and was told that its trucking partners will cease shipping out of Miami as of Friday at 7 p.m., according to Bachmann.
“Our logistics team in Miami and Chile have been working hard to determine all our options. We anticipate having clarity on the options today and will advise you immediately so you can plan accordingly,” Bachmann added.
Still, higher Chilean salmon prices will be welcomed by the Chilean industry, which has been suffering from months of a weak demand.
“They are looking forward to a stronger market,” Lycke said.
In addition to Chilean salmon, Hurricane Irma could be devastating to the spiny lobster fishery in the Florida Keys.
“With the high storm surge, those traps on the bottom of the ocean floor will be damaged or completely displaced,” Lycke said.
Meanwhile, IncredibleFish plans to close its doors this Friday, and has already sold most of its fresh inventories.
“The safety of my employees comes first,” Lycke said. “We have a great facility here and we are going to ride it out.”