After a terrible year for the fishing industry, New Year’s demand has many optimistic

The price of fresh fish plummeted in the spring when restaurants and hotels first shut down.
Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 12:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The fishing industry took a real hit this year, but some are hoping for a slight improvement with the end-of-year rush for sashimi.

The price of fresh fish plummeted in the spring when restaurants and hotels first shut down.

Consumers benefited because of the low prices, but fishing boats suffered.

The industry was helped by $3 million in federal CARES Act funding and there’s hope of recovery in the new year.

“It was crucial that we got some kind of assistance so we could persevere through the core of the pandemic,” said Michael Goto, vice president of the United Fishing Agency.

In mid-September, Goto reported that only half of the 140 vessels in the fleet were operational. On Wednesday, he said almost all the boats that UFA buys from are up and running.

That has fish buyers optimistic about the future, and comfortable offering slightly higher prices for New Year’s sashimi.

“We do have some Blue Fin today, and that is going to be on the high side, $35 almost $40 per pound,” said Guy Tamashiro, vice president of Tamashiro’s Market.

“The bigeyes, the local bigeyes are around $30 to $35 per pound depending on what I pay for them today. But on the other hand, we will have some for probably $12.95 per pound and up and several grades in between.”

Tamashiro said he is seeing more people buy smaller platters of more high quality fish as families are gathering in smaller numbers for the holidays.

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