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About Coast river business journal. (Astoria, OR) 2006-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 12, 2020)
COAST RIVER BUSINESS JOURNAL
FEBRUARy 2020 • 9
now account for about 10%.
Antich attributed the decline in salmon
simply to a lack of supply.
“Last year was our worst volume salmon
season of all time,” he said.
“The amount of fish we purchased was
less than half of our previous worst year. It
has to do with salmon policies, ocean condi-
tions and opportunity,”
There haven’t been any new products
added in the past year, but a bigger push
is being made on crab, which prompted an
expansion by adding docks in Eureka and
Crescent City in California.
Coronavirus disrupts Dungeness
crab exports to China
The outbreak of a respiratory illness in
China is impacting the commercial Dunge-
ness crab fisheries in Oregon and Washing-
ton. It appears to be resulting in more crab
staying in the Pacific Northwest.
The novel coronavirus, first detected in
the city of Wuhan in December, was respon-
sible for nearly 600 deaths as CRBJ went to
press and 30,000 confirmed cases with the
vast majority in China, according to the Cen-
ters for Disease Control and Prevention.
Uncertainty over the outbreak rip-
pled through economic markets and dis-
rupted worldwide trade and supply chains,
from electronics to clothing manufacturers,
according to the Wall Street Journal.
China bans imports
China banned live-animal imports as a
result of the outbreak, and restricted travel to
and from the country.
The ban has been felt locally in the com-
mercial crab fishery, where top dollar is
fetched for live crab exported to the Chinese
market, particularly during the month-long
New Year celebration in January.
The crab market is divided among four
categories that each command a different
price. Live crab is the most sought after and
lucrative market, followed by whole, cooked
and eviscerated crab. In Japan, Korea and
China, live Dungeness can fetch as much as
$30 per pound.
“We were headed the right way with the
live market, increasing in demand for the
Chinese New Year [centered on Saturday,
Jan. 25],” said Ilwaco Landing Fishermen
co-owner Mike Shirley.
“The tariffs were lowered, the demand
was good and the price was headed up, and
then it just completely stopped. The corona-
virus has spread significantly across China,
where a lot of the live crab goes. At this point
they have stopped all imports of any kind of
live animals,” he said.
The impact of the live-import ban in
China has already been felt by other fisher-
South Bend Products General Manager Dean Antich, left, interacts with employee Hector Medina while processing crab Tuesday, Jan. 28 at South Bend Prod-
ucts in Chinook. Medina has processed crab for the past 23 years, becoming one of the best, Antich said. A proficient ‘shaker’ can pick more than 160 pounds in
a 7-hour shift, earning about $30 per hour.
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