No ahi? Low supply, high demand impacting local poke, seafood shops

Poke nachos from Poke On Da Run in Pearl City is a popular menu on the item. But the shortage...
Poke nachos from Poke On Da Run in Pearl City is a popular menu on the item. But the shortage of ahi is making it harder for the locally owned shop to serve up the dish.(HNN)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Local poke and seafood shops are finding themselves in short supply of ahi, leading to a spike in prices for consumers.

Some shops are having to turn away customers as retailers opt to either not sell ahi products due to the high prices, or close up shop completely.

Hamada General Store in Honolulu announced they were pulling ahi products from their menu for the time being until prices dropped. Poke On Da Run in Pearl City closed two days last week because of the fish shortage.

The common factors are to blame for this: Higher demand and lower supply.

“About a year ago to this date we were in a totally opposite situation. There was no tourism, very little local demand, and a lot of fish to get rid of,” said Michael Goto of the United Fishing Agency.

But things have since done a 180. “There’s an abundance of tourism, not too much supply coming in and really high demand overall,” Goto added.

During the pandemic, Goto estimates the local fishing industry lost upwards of $40 million in revenue. Now that restaurants and hotels are booming with business, some lost revenue has been recovered. But there isn’t enough fish being caught to meet that sudden demand.

“Just as a lot of areas of Hawaii has been unprepared for this overabundance of tourism, the same can be said for our industry,” Goto said.

Like most things in economics, things happen in waves. Experts think this shortage and price spike is no different, and that it was soon recede.

“Fishing is fishing. You’re gonna see slow periods and you’re gonna see heavy periods. The consumer should really be confident that the supplies will come back and that market’s going to weed itself out. It’s gonna come back to a more stable state. So as long as we can get through this,” Goto said.

Poke nachos from Poke On Da Run in Pearl City.
Poke nachos from Poke On Da Run in Pearl City.(HNN)

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