Fish Radio

Salmon market: early indicators

February 9, 2016

Salmon is America's #2 favorite seafood. Buy up, USA! Credit:

Salmon is America’s #2 favorite seafood. Buy up, USA!

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch –  Early salmon market signs show some headwinds. More after this –

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A new salmon season is months away  and  signs indicate the big back to back pileup of sockeyes has been moving through the market.

What the fishermen and the Alaska industry really needs is move that product through the supply chain – clear the decks –  get it out so we are not continuing to deal with that sort of overhang in the following year. Whether we are there yet or not, is hard to say. 

Andy Wink is a Fisheries Economist with the Juneau-based McDowell Group.

The Alaska processors will get a good sense of demand when they meet with their customers at Boston and Brussels seafood shows.  they’ll get a very good sense of how hungry those customers are for product. If they haven’t done very well moving these large sockeye volumes they won’t be as aggressive. If they have been having good luck with their promotions they’ll probably come back hungry for more.

Frozen product has moved more briskly than it did in 2014, Wink said, on a surge in salmon promotions and discounts nationwide.    Cans are in a stall; likewise – global currencies.

We’ve seen things move a lot more briskly and the currency situation is still terrible, but at least it’s been terrible now for awhile so people are more adjusted to that in terms the sales and wholesale market ahs a better grip on where that’s at. Hopefully they can figure out what everyone needs to operate at these currency levels.  

Alaska salmon also will face off against even more farmed fish. Russia’s ongoing seafood embargo has displaced huge amounts of Norwegian salmon and imports to the US have doubled.

   So it’s been a big shift and the whole supply chain is kind of adjusting to that, and I think there’s a bit of reason to think we are getting more to a stable environment where there is not so much uncertainty.   Hopefully that will allow processors and distributors and everyone throughout the whole supply chain that’s responsible for getting this product moved through to be able to do that.

All combined, early signs don’t point to any big price boosts for salmon.

There’s still a lot of headwinds. Still a lot of unknowns.  It’s just kind of hard to see how the price   takes any significant jump. We’ve got a lower forecast so we’ll see how much the market responds to that. but so much depends on how much product has moved through the system, now well inventories have been absorbed. It’s been a pretty dramatic shift going from in 2013 near record lows in supply to a couple years later some of the highest supply we’ve seen.

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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.