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Rising fish prices mean giving up money for Lenten fish fries

Dwindling stocks and COVID supply chain issues are being felt in the seafood industry and by consumers.

PARMA, Ohio — It's a peaceful scene as the sun hits the golden domes of Saint Josephat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Parma. As the sound of church bells echo throughout the suburb of Cleveland, inside the party center, it's the calm before the storm.

"Usually, it's like 800-900," Father Wolodymyr Hrytsyuk says if the cathedral's Lenten fish fries.

2022 FISH FRY GUIDE: Submit an even or find one near you

But for Hrytsyuk and any church, VFW, American Legion, or restaurant that has fish and seafood specials during Lent, the costs are on the rise like a trout to a mayfly.

"Fish has really gone up, about 30-40%," Hrytsyuk said, "and we had to raise the prices for our plates a little bit. Not too much."

Raising prices will reduce revenue streams for lots of churches, non-profits, and restaurants, because some of the cost will be passed on to consumers. One type of fish won't be on the menu this year at Saint Josephat.

"Salmon is very expensive, and so we had to make a decision," Hrytsyuk told 3News. "We know people like our salmon, and we hope it's going to come back next year."

Catanese Classics in Downtown Cleveland is caught in the middle, as prices on all seafood are going up. For example, Alaskan jumbo king crab legs are selling at $68 per pound.

According to Mike Bartosic, the salmon issue goes back to COVID 19 restrictions.

"Right now, we're kind of paying the price because there's a very limited amount of salmon worldwide," he said. "It makes it very hard to come up with a lot of product."

And that leaves consumers fishing more money out of their pocketbooks. Yet even though the cost for a fish fry has increased, the show will go on. Freezers are packed with fish and other offerings, and soon, plates and bellies will be full.

"We'll have a baked fish, fried fish, we have shrimp, we have pierogi dinner, we have potato pancake, French fries, we'll have borscht," Hrytsyuk said. "Everyone is welcome and every taste will be satisfied."

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