The Portland Fish Exchange is America’s first all-display fresh seafood auction that opened in 1986. The Exchange is a non-profit, quasi-public corporation managed by a Board of Directors representing seafood buyers and sellers, City residents and government leaders.
The Exchange’s supports Maine’s seafood industry by:
Providing buyers and sellers with impartial grading and weighing services.
Conducting auctions to determine the most accurate, up-to-date prices for wholesale fresh seafood.
Disseminating price information to seafood buyers and sellers to allow them to make the best possible market decisions.
Advocating for sustainable fisheries and Maine’s seafood industry at the state, regional, and federal levels.
The Exchange’s primary function is offloading and auctioning of seafood. Commercial fishing vessels are offloaded in the early morning. The Exchange separates the catch by species of fish and market grade. The catch is weighed, and arranged in the facility’s 22,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse for inspection. Buyers arrive throughout the morning to inspect the quality of the day’s catch.
Auctions are held every Sunday through Thursday at 10am. The Exchange’s Electronic Internet Auction solicits bids for each species and size of seafood from the Exchange’s registered buyers. Buyers & sellers can access the auction either on premise or remotely using a properly configured personal computer. The highest bid is accepted by the Electronic Auctioneer for any given product. Winning bidders have the first pick of seafood from all product offered for sale that day, and may purchase up to 10 lots per bid or as few lots as desired.
Sellers have the option to decline any bid price. When a bid is refused, the seller may ship their products to another market or elect the following day’s auction for sale.
The bidding continues until all species and sizes of seafood have been offered for sale. Most auctions take about an hour to complete.
Other, seasonal auctions are conducted as required, such as a shrimp-only auction held at 8:00 p.m. during the winter shrimp fishing season.
The Exchange acts as a financial intermediary, providing payments to sellers and collecting payments from buyers. Sellers receive payment for their catch within 24 hours of product sale at the Exchange. At the close of each auction buyers receive invoices for products and services received, with 14 day payment terms.
Daily and weekly price reports are available at no charge on the Exchange’s web site. A historical price query tool is available to compare prices & landings from February 2003 to present - also on the web site.