Fish Radio
Salmon market updates, Russia plugs pinks
October 12, 2016

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Some market bright spots for Alaska salmon . I’ll tell you more after this –

Russian salmon fishing Credit:

Russian salmon fishing

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It was a rough salmon season at most Alaska regions this summer, with Bristol Bay being the big exception. But salmon is moving swimmingly to market at this point post-season.

The demand is there. The world still recognizes that this is the best place to go for the highest quality salmon, including pinks.  

Tyson Fick is Communications Director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. For pink salmon, Alaska’s shortfall would seem to be made up for with Russia’s 200 million humpy haul this summer. But Fick says most of that pink pack will stay in Russia.

The good news is there’s been a push for many years in Russia to keep Russian seafood in Russia. So there will be a large portion of that catch taken up in their domestic market. We will still see pink salmon going through China and into other markets that were competitive with Alaska fish and still would be. But the good news is it has potential to hold our space in the market and not get traded out for other species like farmed salmon.

Alaska pinks are still being hammered by Russia’s ongoing embargo of all products from the US and other nations that objected to its strong arm actions in the Ukraine.   Russia typically bought over $100 million of Alaska seafood each year, mostly pink roe.

Yes, we lost a very valuable customer, particularly for roe, but also it displaced a large amount of Norwegian farmed salmon at the same time because they were caught up in it, so had to meet them in other markets to move our product. A sort of musical chairs effect.  

This was the first year ever that farmed salmon production went down, due to a deadly fish virus that Chile is still recovering from. Chile is the largest importer of farmed salmon to the US. Overall and early on, Fick says markets for Alaska wild salmon are looking good.

Demand keeps going up. It’s really a bright spot there. More and more people are turned on to salmon and have the opportunity, especially with the huge harvests we’ve had, particularly with sockeye the past couple of years, and then two out of four years being record harvest when you look back,  there’s been a lot of people who’ve had the opportunity to try wild Alaska salmon and then look for it the market later on. 11 we have a larger target market to shoot for to introduce them to the good stuff.  

You can learn more about markets for Alaska salmon and all other species at ASMI’s “All Hands on Deck” meeting. It’s open to all and set for October 25-27 at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage.

Also check out the line up next month at Pacific Marine Expo.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.