Quality remains a priority , as fluke market keeps prices on rise .
Early summer fluke prices were unusually high with dockside prices often $1.50 to $2 above the average .Much of this had to do with a 30 percent dropin quota.Other flatfish were also unavailable to buyers ,whih helped drive up the price .
Summer prices are usually higher than winter prices.From January through April the bulk of the landings are in Rhode Island ,New Jersey ,and the top two producers , Virginia and North Carolina.Even during the winter months , when a lot more product is available , there´s been an upward trend in price.
“For the past five years the price has gone up by 20 to 30 cents per pound”,says Meade Amory vice president of L.D.Amory and Co., in Newport News ,Va. ” Some of this has to do with Virginia and North Carolina not landing their winter quotas at the same time .”
Overall quality has also been on the rise , and much of this is because of the sushi market .
Tom Williams Jr.,captain of the 60-foot traveler Heritage ,says “It´s all about the quality .We bleedall fluke over two pounds .We slush the sushi -grade fish down in seawater and ice.It´s all about trying to get a good price .We take care of the fish ,and I think that shows “.
Williams sets his entire fishing schedule around fluke , having fluke permits in six states.”The only months we don´t fluke are the summer – it makes more sense to fish squid and make some Georges Bank groundfish trips”.
The 30 percent cut , which every East Coast state felt was implemented after fishery scientists over-estimated the 2012 stock size and predicted a large recruitment of fluke that never occured .Managers then had to backpedal in 2014 and reduce the quota by 30 percent in 2016 .Further cuts ,though smaller , are expected in 2017 .
“The resources is in good shape .Lots of smaller fish off the Carolinas and fish all they way up to Georges Bank “,Williams says .