Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seafood for Thought

The following chart shows the increase in prices of various food items since 1947 relative to what prices overall have done.



I find it interesting that fish and seafood prices rose during the 1970s relative to most things and never came back down. The same cannot be said of meats.

In anticipation of this post, fried has offered the following link (from the comments of the last post).

September 6, 2011
Scientists call for end to deep-sea fishing

Elliott Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Institute and the paper’s lead author, said the world has turned to deep-sea fishing “out of desperation” without realizing fish stocks there take much longer to recover.

“We’re now fishing in the worst places to fish,” Norse said in an interview. “These things don’t come back.”


For what it is worth, I have a very large supply of canned tuna fish in my extended pantry. Unlike meats, it does not even require refrigeration.

That said, all is not lost perhaps.

February 21, 2005
FISH-FARMING BREAKTHROUGH

Japan has spent decades developing and refining highly advanced fish-farming techniques. In September 2004 many of those efforts came to fruition when the first consignment ever of farmed bluefin tuna, a fish that fetches extremely high prices, was shipped commercially. In a related development, a major supermarket has announced plans to sell flounder that has been farmed without the use of antibiotics. The technology of fish farming, a practice that offers advantages in terms of food safety and conservation, is advancing rapidly.


The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (2010)

Aquaculture continues to be the fastest-growing animal-food-producing sector and to outpace population growth, with per capita supply from aquaculture increasing from 0.7 kg in 1970 to 7.8 kg in 2008, an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent.

Peak fish? Perhaps not.

Source Data:
BLS: CPI
St. Louis Fed: CPI

19 comments:

fried said...

Andrew Tobias, back in the 70s, wrote an investment book called "The Only Investment Book You Need" suggesting that people invest in commodities via cases of tuna fish...stack 4 or 5 cases, add some unopened Hellman's and a can opener, and cover the whole thing with a cloth..presto, an end table that pays you.He also used the example of Charles Revson, who lost fortunes in the market, but came out ahead by buying mouth wash in bulk.

Stagflationary Mark said...

fried,

Nice!

I believe that a canned tuna fish table will outperform 0.0% I-Bonds going forward, if only because any inflationary gains of the table will not be taxed.

I think there's a risk that 0.0% I-Bonds will outperform many other investments going forward (if Japan's Nikkei is any indicator after their housing bust).

About the only risk you have with a canned tuna table is that it will become less sturdy over time as you eat its contents, lol.

Troy said...

Fish, and plankton, and sea greens and protein from the sea.

Audrey said...

So I guess aquafarming hasn't quite been successful enough to bring fish prices down yet...

Audrey said...

Mark -
Remember your "recession equation" from a week or so ago?
And you added in drought/dust bowl.
Well how about fires?
Now we've got that!
I think the official count is over 1000 homes lost in Texas fires in the last few days.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Audrey,

No fish glut yet, and as for fires, perhaps Texans could learn a few "advanced" fire techniques from my state. Everything's better with a little gasoline on it. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...

I do have to wonder about the claim that the explosion could be seen a few hundred feet away though. Shocking!

In all seriousness...

Is that really a big explosion? We can see a footballs at 300 feet (the length of a football field, not counting end zones) and footballs aren't even on fire. Just saying.

tj and the bear said...

The condition of our oceans is something I'd rather not think about.

On another (favorite) subject... have you ever considered the production costs vs. retail value of the various commodities you like to compare? Give it a whirl -- see how much it actually costs to produce a barrel of oil, an ounce of gold, a roll of tinfoil and/or toilet paper.

I'd say TIPS, too, if you know exactly how many electrons it took to create yours. ;-)

Stagflationary Mark said...

tj and the bear,

The production costs for housing were infinitely higher than the production costs for TIPS in 2007. Didn't stop housing from being the bubble.

dearieme said...

Tinned tuna is no good for omega-3 (my diet advisor says). So we have stocked up on tinned sardines. Happily, we've found a supplier of sardines in lemon-flavoured oil. Delish!

Wisdom Seeker said...

"The production costs for housing were infinitely higher than the production costs for TIPS in 2007. Didn't stop housing from being the bubble."

Well, it wasn't houses that were the bubble, it was mortgage loans. Thanks to securitization, rampant fraud by originators, servicers and ratings agencies, plus and the law-bending magic of MERS, the production costs were not that different to those who sold investors the actual mortgage bonds. In fact, when you can get garbage rated AAA, get taxpayer bailouts, and avoid going to jail, the production costs are negative! What's not to like?

BTW, the chart a few days ago about integrated negative 80% real return of 0.9% 30-year TIPS at the higher marginal tax rate should scare folks. It's not really inflation protected if it doesn't deliver a positive real after-tax return. Or is it just protecting Uncle Sam's real tax returns?

shtove said...

Fascinating stuff from BBC radio 4 on insects as the new source of protein and fatty acids:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0146104

Lots of Dutch scientists turning roasted locusts and maggots into flour: "Zis vill be ze alternative to meat in 5 to 10 years time."

getyourselfconnected said...

Saw this post in the morning, loved it!

Stagflationary Mark said...

dearieme,

My tuna isn't even the survivalist kind. It is packed in water (low fat/calories). What can I say? That's the kind of tuna I like.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Wisdom Seeker,

Well, it wasn't houses that were the bubble, it was mortgage loans.

October 28, 2005
Stupid Investment of the Week

"They say all of the great things about owning precious metals, but if they then convince you to buy five times the amount using leverage and you actually have nothing in hand, everything has changed," says Bret Leifer of Bret Leifer Numismatics in Wayland, Mass. "This account feeds the greed. They say 'If gold goes up, you can make five times more with this account.'"

Hindsight shows that it wasn't actually all that stupid then, but I think it will be someday. I had a third of my nest egg in gold and silver bullion at that time. Go figure.

BTW, the chart a few days ago about integrated negative 80% real return of 0.9% 30-year TIPS at the higher marginal tax rate should scare folks.

It should. I sound like a broken record, but I don't think anything is safe. Our choices are very risky and not quite as risky.

It's not really inflation protected if it doesn't deliver a positive real after-tax return.

Quite true. I never feel protected. Of course, the same thing applies to all the alternatives too in theory.

The goal in a bear market is to lose less than the next person. That's my goal anyway. So far, so good.

Stagflationary Mark said...

shtove,

...roasted locusts and maggots...

This will be a fantastic innovation.

Just as cell phones now fit in pockets, so too will future barbeque grills!

Nothing stops progress, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...

GYSC,

Saw this post in the morning, loved it!

The seafood or the roasted locusts and maggots? ;)

nanute said...

There's something "fishy" about this story.

Stagflationary Mark said...

nanute,

A red herring? ;)