February 23, 2017

A report showing Alaska seafood market summaries and outlooks reveals that as always, much will depend on how global exchange rates come into play, but things are heartening for many Alaska species.
An Alaska Seafood Marking Institute overview, compiled by the McDowell Group, shows that for sockeye salmon, wholesale prices are expected to remain strong based on robust demand in 2016 sales and increasing farmed salmon prices.  Japan also has re-emerged as an important buyer of smaller sized sockeye and larger fish are reportedly selling well in Europe’s smoked salmon market. Conversely, canned prices have fallen sharply and the “Brexit” vote has further reduced demand in the U.K., the largest canned red market.

For halibut, fresh wholesale prices increased slightly in 2016, despite an increase in harvest volume, indicating a steady demand for Alaska halibut. Americans also are getting a taste for sablefish, or black cod, which last year saw fishermen’s prices topping $9 a pound for larger sizes. Japan still buys more than two-thirds of Alaska’s black cod, but purchases are dropping off as other customers, notably the U.S. step up purchases.

Looking at Alaska’s key herring fisheries at Sitka and Togiak, the dockside value increased 14 percent last year to nearly $4 million. The average value per ton increased 38 percent to $149 per ton on average. However, inventories in freezers have increased and there’s a feeling of over-supply in the market. A stronger Japanese yen and decreased supply this year could help prices, but downward trends in demand for roe herring could have a dampening effect.

The average price of Pacific cod exports are flat to down slightly, and overall export value is down year to date. On a bright note, there’s good demand   in the U.S. market with customers asking for U.S.-sourced products.

The ASMI report also includes recaps and outlooks for all salmon species, pollock, flatfish, sea cucumbers, crab and geoduck clams. Find links at www.alaskafishradio.com and visit us on Facebook and Twitter.