38 year old fish price list

Jay Hemdal

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I was going through some files this morning and came across a couple of interesting ones; a wholesale marine fish price list from 1982 and an invoice for a marine fish export from Jakarta in 1981. Thought some folks might get a kick out of seeing these. The history was this: I worked in the pet industry in southeast Michigan from 1972 through 1985. In 1980, a new wholesaler opened up - Pacific Sealife Distributors. He did not import from the Philippines, only Hawaii, Jakarta and New Caledonia. The reasoning was that cyanide use was rampant in the Philippines at the time, and those fish were pretty much junk. I became friends with the owner. He made a number of trips to Jakarta to firm up the business relationship with the exporter. One night, he called me from there. He said that he was going to close up his business. One of the staff at the exporter's told him, "We now can get you many batman with magic". What did that mean? Well, they called adult emperor angels "batman" due to the eye mask, and well, you can figure out what the "magic" was. The quality of the fish tanked within a few months as cyanide use invaded the area. The retail store I worked for bought his tanks, and I got all of his papers and contact lists. I ended up starting a small mail order fish business, Midwest Marine Life.

He had a strange pricing structure - and was quite a bit more expensive than other wholesalers at the time.
PSLD PL.jpg


Here is an invoice from C.V. Banyu Biru. You pretty much received what they decided to send you thus this order containing 24 maroon clowns (hard to sell, low value).

CV Banyu Biru.jpg
 
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ichthyogeek

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Wanted to pop in here with a "remember inflation" comment. We always forget about how inflation screws with dollar rates:


Anybody willing to do the conversions for us? Also is this shipper->retailer? or shipper->wholesaler, or wholesaler->retailer?
 
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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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@Jay Hemdal your still selling fish and honoring the C.V. Banyu Biru prices right? ;)

Ha! No, I haven't sold fish commercially since 1984. I do have another price comparison that I'll see about posting here - a wholesale list from a major importer dated 1993 who is still in business. Interesting to see how some of those prices have gone way up (colored carpet anemones and hepatus tangs) and some that have really dropped (tank-raised clownfish).

Jay
 
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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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$150 for a conspic! I hope I can get more than 40 cents a piece for the maroon clownfish I'm currently raising though..

Are these the landed prices or + freight? I would guess freight back then was a lot less...

Those prices were all FOB, no freight charges. He had to ship from Jakarta the other way - through Europe on either JAL or Lufthansa.

Jay
 
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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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Just think - back in the day someone had to type all of that!

Yes - and no computer, so the pricelist had to be typeset by a printing company!

Jay
 
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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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All the corallivore butterflies make me cringe. Goes to show how people would do anything to make a buck. They simply shouldn’t be exported / imported at all.

While that is mostly true, my recollection was that many of his "partial corallivore" butterflies did fairly well, except for pure coral eaters like reticulatus, ornatissimus and trifasciatus. His trifascialis and Bennet's did o.k. At the time, a store could get "tiny assorted butterflies" from the Philippines for around $7 each, sell them for $18.95 and they ALL would die. This guy's fish were larger, and at least some would stand a chance. Trouble is, we could never get the retail customers to understand the difference, they consistently would buy the cheaper Philippine fish from our competitors.

Jay
 
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ThRoewer

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Those prices were all FOB, no freight charges. He had to ship from Jakarta the other way - through Europe on either JAL or Lufthansa.

Jay
Stores that import themselves like to show you those kind of price lists when you bring them tank bred fish and try to convince you that that's the price you got to beat. They always forget to mention that the cost of the (cheaper) fish in their origin country is usually less than shipping costs, customs fees,... and let's not forget about the losses you usually have.
Once those maroons had been imported, acclimated, an were ready to be sold the actual cost of the survivors would have been more in the range of $5 each if not more.
 

JaimeAdams

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While that is mostly true, my recollection was that many of his "partial corallivore" butterflies did fairly well, except for pure coral eaters like reticulatus, ornatissimus and trifasciatus. His trifascialis and Bennet's did o.k. At the time, a store could get "tiny assorted butterflies" from the Philippines for around $7 each, sell them for $18.95 and they ALL would die. This guy's fish were larger, and at least some would stand a chance. Trouble is, we could never get the retail customers to understand the difference, they consistently would buy the cheaper Philippine fish from our competitors.

Jay
The average customer still doesn't understand price difference between quality of fish.

Stores that import themselves like to show you those kind of price lists when you bring them tank bred fish and try to convince you that that's the price you got to beat. They always forget to mention that the cost of the (cheaper) fish in their origin country is usually less than shipping costs, customs fees,... and let's not forget about the losses you usually have.
Once those maroons had been imported, acclimated, an were ready to be sold the actual cost of the survivors would have been more in the range of $5 each if not more.
Bringing fish in from abroad is all about the cost in freight and the cost of loss. Most times it doesn't make sense for the cheaper fish as the costs usually add up to more than domestic wholesalers sell them for.
 

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Great thread Jay. I still have my log book starting from 1971 to the 90s and I cringe when I see what I was using for medications and love the prices.

I was using all human meds which didn't fare well much of the time. :cool:

 

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Those were the days. I remembered selling damsels in my store 5 for $10. Now no less than $4.00 each up to 8.99 each
 
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