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FISHERY MARKET NEWS

OCTOBER 1944

CONTENTS

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A COMPARISON OF CONTROLLED AND UNCONTROLLED FISH PRI CES IN NEW YORK CITY, by

Eunice M Werner
THE RAGFISH, by Glenn C. Bucher and Kathryn L. Os terbaug
Colorful ceremony marks opening of the shrimp season
Consultants' meeting planned by OOF
Pribilof fur seal herd largest in 75 years ...
Principles governing sale of Government-owned food outlined by WFA
WFA revises food priority order effective September 15
Active WFA orders listed on September 30
WPB defines program for operations following Germany's defeat
No relaxation of restrictions on burlap or rope anticipated by WPB
WPB asks cooperation in use of transportation facilities .....
ODT acts to eliminate delays in unloading refrigerator cars
Use of term "grayfish" is discussed by Food and Drug Administration
Article on volatile bases in fish published
FRESH FISH TRADE

August landings at New Bedford slightly above August 1943 ...
Three-port landings decline during August, but 8-month total leads 1943 by 8 percent

8
New York fish receipts up 5 per cent in August ...
Galf shrimp production in August 19 per cent below 1943
Chicago receipts continue decline in August ...
Seattle receipts of fishery products continue downward trend
OPA postpones setting prices on Great Lakes fish
Amendment 34 to MPR-418 effective September 18
Amendment 35 to MPR-418 effective September 14

Amendment 5 to MPR-507 effective October 5
FROZEN FISH TRADE

August freezings 6 percent below those of August 1943
U. S. frozen fish holdings reach all-time highs
Boston cold-storage inventories remain large at end of August
Cold-storage stocks in New York on September 1 total 14 million pounds
Chicago holdings show little change in August .......
Canadian holdings of frozen fish increase nearly 6 million pounds in August
Canadian plants freeze 17 million pounds of fresh fish in August
Few raises in frozen fish prices this winter, OPA says .....
OPA states no increase contemplated in scallop prices
Amendment 20 to MPR-364 effective September 11 ..
VFA acts to make more cold-storage space available

WFO-70, 70-1, 90, and 90-1 terminated September 2
CANNED AND CURED FISH TRADE

California tuna pack for first 8 months 23 percent greater than in 1943
July and August shrimp pack to tals 60,990 cases
Alaska salmon pack to August 26 totals 4,466,500 cases ......

Contents continued on page 39

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ISSUED BY THE

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

WASHINGTON

Natural History Survey

Tibrary

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

HAROLD L. ICKES, Secretary

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

IRA N. GABRIELSON, Director

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Applications for FISHERY MARKET NEWS, which is mailed free to members of the fishery industry and allied interests, should be addressed

to the Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of the Interior, Washington 25, D. C.

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A COMPARISON OF CONTROLLED AND UNCONTROLLED FISH PRICES IN NEW YORK CITY

By Eunice M. Werner*

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To determine the apparent effect of price ceilings on fish prices, a study of price movements in the New York City wholesale market was made by the Office of the Coordinator of Fisheries for the spring months of 1944 and 1942. Comparing prices of 10 varieties of fish during the spring of 1942 with prices of the same 10 varieties two years later, by which time five had been brought under Maximum Price Regulation 418, establishes a good basis for determining some effects of 'OPA regulations.

The species now under price control, which were selected for the study, were cod, blackback (called "flounders" on New York market), yellowtail, whiting, and shrimp. This group, excluding shrimp, represents about 43 percent of the 56,243,000 pounds of fresh fish (other than shellfish) received in the New York City salt-water market during the 17-week period, March 2 to June 27, 1942, and 36 percent of the 65,260,000 pounds brought in between February 28 and June 24, 1944. The species not under price control which were included in the study, were mackerel, scup (porgy), butterfish, croaker, and sea bass. This group represents 20 percent of the total receipts in the 1942 period and 21 percent in 1944. Thus, well over half of the total New York receipts for this period are represented in the study.

Daily prices and weekly receipts of the 10 species were compiled from the daily Fishery Products Reports of the New York City Market News office of the Fish and Wildlife Service. It was feasible to use weekly receipt totals because normal variations in supply according to the day of the week would not be expected to affect the price correspondingly.

Whenever possible, the prices used in the study were prices of large trap-caught fish from a given area, usually Virginia or Maryland in the early months and New York or New Jersey in May and June. In the case of cod, steak cod from Boston or Gloucester was considered a good standard. Blackback and yellowtail were from New Bedford or Woods Hole, Shrimp was from Louisiana. In 1942, the shrimp prices collected were for the size counting 22, or 22 to 25 per pound, and in 1944, for the 15 to 20 count, which sizes were predominant in the reports for the respective years. There appears to be evidence of up-grading of shrimp, and for the purposes of this report these two "sizes" will be considered comparable. Where price ranges were shown in the daily Market News reports, the mid-points were used. Hereafter, when reference is made to the price of a certain fish, it means the price selected as described above from the variety of prices quoted each day.

Table 1 shows, for the controlled species, the weekly receipts for both years and an unweighted average of the daily prices for each week, while Table 2 shows the same for uncontrolled species,

In making some general comparisons between the group under price control and those not controlled, it was found that the range for each species or difference between the highest and lowest price during the four months was less in 1944 than in 1942 in the case of conEconomist, Economic Facilities Branch, Office of the Coordinator of Fisheries,

trolled fish, but greater in the case of uncontrolled fish, as shown in Table 3 and Figure 1. The only exception to this was yellowtail, which also showed a smaller range relatively, but was the same in actual amount, or a difference of 7 cents between the highest and lowest price in both years.

An examination of these ranges also shows that the lowest prices at which the uncontrolled fish were sold were practically the same for the two years, and only in the case of croaker varied as much as one cent a pound. But the lowest price at which controlled fish were sold was considerably higher in 1944 than in 1942. The greatest difference was in shrimp, for which the minimum price increased 12 cents, while the increase for the other species varied from about 4 to 6 cents, except whiting, in which the difference was only one-half cent.

The same phenomenon is shown in a comparison of roughly weighted averages.1 The difference between the two years in the average price of uncontrolled fish varied from an actual decrease of 0.1 cent for mackerel to an increase of 4.3 cents for scup. With the exception of whiting, which ro se only 0.5 cent, the controlled fish prices showed a greater increase, between 4.4 cents for blackback and 12.2 cents for shrimp.

These facts indicate that, while ceilings probably kept the price of certain fish from skyrocketing, they also may have had the effect of maintaining a high price during periods of abundance, It is very likely that the price of certain species, such as shrimp would have been even higher, were it not for price control. The actual amount of shrimp on the market this year was smaller than in 1942, and the consumer-demand has undoubtedly increased due to increased purchasing power, But the question arises as to whether cod, which is more important than shrimp in terms of volume and general popularity, would have held up to about 15 cents all spring if there had been no ceiling.

Another approach to this problem was by means of scatter diagrams and regression lines, showing price against quantity. Weekly figures were used, the prices being an average of the daily prices given each week, and the quantity being the total weekly receipts of each species. The results are shown in Figures 2 to ll.

The slope of the line indicates how responsive the price is to quantity changes. The greater the slope, the more a large supply brings down the price, while a horizontal line indicates that supply has virtually no effect on price. When the two lines are parallel, even though the line for 1944 may be above the 1942 line, the supply and price relationships are about the same in the two years.

An inverse relationship of supply and price was found in the case of all the uncontrolled fish for both 1942 and 1944. The two lines for butterfish (Figure 2) are about parallel and show what appears to be a normal slope, In the case of mackerel, scup, and croaker (Figures 3, 4, and 5), the slope of the 1944 line is even more pronounced than that of 1942. This was brought about by extremely high prices in the early part of the 1944 period, when mackerel was up to 36 cents a pound and croaker and scup were over 20 cents. The slope for sea bass (Figure 6) was less in 1944 than in 1942, due to heavier supplies in the earlier part of the period when higher prices prevailed.

The controlled species, except whiting, show a different relationship. The diagram for cod (Figure 7) shows that the 1942 line has a normal slope, while the 1944 line is nearly horizontal. Translated into words, this means that cod sold at about the same price regardless of how much was available. Yellowtail (Figure 8) shows a slightly upward slope in 1942 and a pronounced upward slope in 1944. The reason for this is that yellowtail is an "out of season" fish. When most other fish are scarce and all prices are high, yellowtail is in season. Later in the year, the abundance of other fish, particularly blackback, brings the yellowtail price down, although there is less of it. The two lines for blackback (Figure 9) appear about parallel. The shrimp diagram (Figure 10) shows a normal slope in 1942, but is horizontal in 1944, because shrimp always sold out at ceiling prices. All this seems to be further evidence that price ceilings make prices less sensitive to the supply situation.

The slope for whiting (Figure 11), which has been more nearly similar to the uncontrolled fish in every measurement, was greater in 1944 than in 1942. This was because dealers paid fishermen less than ceiling prices for whiting, but only after considerable protest on the part of the fishermen. The Fishing Gazette for August 1944 (p. 92) says, "The season 1 The average price was computed by finding the unweighted average price for each week (using the prices

selected for the study, as previously described) and weighting this weekly price by the total weekly receipts of the particular species.

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406

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May

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496

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496

5.6

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Table I - Five Controlled Species of Fish: Weekly Receipts & Average Prices,

Weekly Receipts & Average Prices, March - June 1944 & 1942

(Receipts - In thousands of lbs., that is 000 omitted) с 0 D BLACK BACK

Y Ε Ι Ι Ο W TAIL 1944 1942

194.4 19_4.2

1944

1942
Week

Av.
Av. Week

Av.
Av. Week

Av.

Av.
Ending_1944 1942

Receipts Receipts
Price

Receipts
Price Ending 1944 1942
Receipts

Receipts
Pricel Ending 1944 1942
Price

Price
Receipts

Price
Lbs. & Lbs. É

Lbs. 生
Lbs.

Lbs,

Lbs. March 4 4 7 374 17.5 541 10.5 March 166 16.0 97 12.9 March 4 7 592 13.2

874 ll 299 17.5 627 9.2

111 16.2 86 14.5

11 14 437 13.1

841 18 650 17.4 457 9.0

18 218 63 10.5

18 21 394 13.2 843 4.5 25 474 17.5 593 8.8

25

218 15.5 106 12.5

25 28

353 13.5 796 6.3 Apr. 1 932 16.6 479 9.6 Apr.

4 292 15.8 194 10.0 Apr. 1 4 588 13.1 794 4.7 8 679 427 9.0

342 11.4 258

8 11

583
12.2
736

5.0
15 18
520
365 9.6

18
220 11.5 284 9.2

15 18 316 8.9 686 5.3 22 674 14.3 462 8.0 474 11.8 480 4.2

22 25 444 9.5 831 404
29

652
14.3

11.4

29

296 9.5 6 631 14.4 310

8.2 May 6 2 555 11.2. 420 5.2. May

6 2 364 9.5

278
14.4
370

13
444 10.1

5.5

13 9 182 8.8 423 20 16 517 13.6 383 8.8 16 553 10.1 540

20 16

195

9.0 402 4.4 27 480 14.6

11,2
27 23 542 10.3

667
6.6
27 23 115 9.5 177

6.1
295
10,4

599
6.4
29

267

5.9
June 3

382
14.6 346 11.8

June 519 9.9 570 6,8 June 3

3 6 162 8.8 223 6.2 10 328 15.0 306

9.2 10 13

368
11.5
577
10 13 92

344 4.5
17

157

17 20

553 11.9 379 10.5

17 20 178

260 6.2 24 306 15.0 288 11.8

,24 420 11.8 406 10,2

24 27 136 8.9 476 5.0 8780 15.3376687

9.62 Totall /
6401 11.776222 2.38

5427 11,25 19251
WHI
G

S H R I MP
1944
1 9 4 2

1944

1942 Week

Receipts

Av.
Receipts
Week

Av.
Receipts

Av.
1944 1942
Ending

Price

Price

Ending 1944 1942
March

Lhs.
4 7. 115 7.4 50

5.0
March 4
7

28 66.

37.0 11 14 124 7.7 98 5.0

11 14

37.3 63
18
84

203
7.0

18

28 38.0 198 25 28 35

25 28
76 37.1

22
Apr.
4 164
55 9.3
Apr. 1 4

42 37.2 213 24.2
8

76 7.5 87 6.0

8 11

104 36.9 189 22.8 15 18 49

121 4.9

15 18

142 37.2

101 25.5 22 25 102 .3 118 2.9

22 25

91

42.54) 206 20.7.
187

Ant
Vay

(12.5
2 169 2.6
21


542.7

24.8
29

126 1.1

13
36 42.8 157

7.6
20 16 208

2.6
140

20
236 142.8

24.8
27
219 2.2 202 1.9

27

286

(42.7 221 90 3.2.

29

266
June 3

193
2.3 213

2.6
June 3
151 37.0

26.2
10
13 155 3.2

185
2.2

10 13

38.0 242

5.0
17 20

254
2.0
72 3.3

17 20

255 37.0 196 24 27 205 3.5 163

24 27

37.0 264 To tall/

2553 4.12 2065 3.56

Totall/

2363

37.36 3027 25.15
NOTE: Receipts and prices compiled from daily 'Tishery, Products" reports of New York City Market News Office Receipts are for all sizes and

grades of each species and prices are on unweighted average 87 prices selected, as described" in text.
1 Price average for each week, weighted by receipts for same week, Receipts for weeks in which prices are not quoted are not used in cohen

puting the weighted average price.
2. Shrimp counting "15 to 20" per lb. except as no ted in footnote 3).

3 Shrimp counting "22 to 25" per lb. 4/ Prices in parentheses are for shrimp counting "15" per lb. During these weeks there were no "15 to 20" shrimp on the market,

These prices were not used in computations,

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May

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Table 2 - Five Uncontrolled Species of Fish: Weekly Receipts & Average Prices, March - June 1944 & 1942

(Receipts - In thousands of lbs., that is 000 omitted MACKEREL

S CUP (PORGY

BUTTERF I SH 1944 1942

19_44 19_4.2

194_4

1 9 4 2 Week

Receipts

Av.
Receipts
Av. Week

Av.
Receipts

Av.

Week
Receipts

Receipts Av.
Ending 1944 1942
Price

Av.

Receipts
Price Ending 1944 1942

Price
Price Ending 1944 1942

Price

Price
Lbs. €

Lbs.
É

Lbs.

É
Lbs. É

Lbs. ¢ Lbs.
March 4

4.0

2.3 March 4 72 20.0 72

March 4

22

56 7.3 1.6

11
136 18.8 45 12.5

11
12 25.0

155
18
3.6 35.5 3.1

18

254 16.2. 68

18

45
28

166
9.9
3.0

25
139 13.8 149 10,2

25 118

270 Apr.

4 45

0.9 Apr. 165 15.0 137

317
9.3 Apr.

327
28.0
7.3

8
276 13.8 93
}

302 10.5 18

252 79 29.7 10,1 16.0 15 13.6 203 6.8

15 18 144 16.6 32 7.7. 25 574 13.2 223 12.9

22

356

8.5
223 5.2

22

371 12,2
601 8.3

7.7
29

279. 9.2

204

8.9
2 764 7.1 496 9.5

May

2 365 5.9 382
13

11.7
598

3.2 May

192 8.9

12,2 7.8

13 243

276

2.6
663

213 11.0
371
7.2

14.5
20

150
5.3 243 3.4

56
7.5

2:5
454 7.9

27
195
181

15:3

14. 504 7.1 327 3.2

14.6 June 363 8.2 336 10,2 June 3 274 4.4 361 3.6 June 3

60
16.5 84

11.1
10
444 9.5 356 10.3

10
364 3.9 382 3.1

10 13

11.1
9.8

98
20

155

9.8
225
14.0

17

255 4.7 267 11.6

3.5

17
409

56 15.8 70 10.9
,24
211
290 3.6

24 27 96 15.8 131 10.3 5378 9.4414000 4.52

3868 8.71 3699 4.351 Totall

Total1/

2417 12.31 1922 11.09 CRO A K E R

SE A BASS 1944 1924. 2

1 9244

1942
Week

Av.
Receipts

Av.
Week

Av.
Ending

Receipts
1944 1942

Av.
Price
Price
Ending

Receipts
1944 1942

Receipts
Price

Price
Lbs. É Lbs.

Lbs.

Lbs.

&
March
4 7

16 6,0

March
4
164 18.0

21.0
11

7.0
18

21.2

23.0
23.0

18
25 28

25
28

17.5.
Apr.
4 44 22.8

9.0
Apr.

41
8

24.0

15.0 1 18.5 103 6.8

8 11

22,2 15 18 106 12.2

15 18
11 23.5

18.2.
22 25 196 6.3 114 5.9

22
22 23.0

19.8 29 126 5.2

29

46 18.7
6 2 191 4.8

123
4.0

6

22.5
13

19.3
131 6.0
3.4

13

23.0

21,2
20 16 113

6.0
3.8

20

21.2

19.5 27 91 5.9 3.8

22.0 30

14.8 4.6

69 11.0 June 3

70 5.9

June
10

42
41

14.7

13.4
10.0

5.8
17

13
20
10.8

13.7
84

11.0

27
2.9
24

14.0
27
68

14.2
9.3
4.8

27

76
15.0

61 15.6
1264 7.56 1105
5.02

833
18.87

594 15.18 NOTE: Receipts and prices compiled from daily "Fishery Products" reports of New York City Market News Office. Receipts are for all sizes and

grades of each species. Prices are on unweighted average of prices selected as described in text. puting the weighted average price. 1/ Price average for each week, weighted by receipts for same week. Receipts for weeks in which prices are not available are not used in com

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