Salmon forecasts: 2015; Tough markets
March 31, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – The forecasts are out for Alaska’s 2015 salmon season. That’s up after this –
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Alaska is expecting another bumper run of salmon this summer, with reds and pinks driving the numbers. State fish managers on Friday announced early projections for an Alaska harvest of 221 million salmon, for all species but Chinook. Those catches are still being computed. That compares to a 2014 salmon harvest of 158 million fish.
Alaska’s regional catch projections for this summer are up across the board. A quick breakdown by the McDowell Group shows —
A whopping 59 million sockeye salmon catch is set to come out of Alaska this summer – the largest since 1995. That’s on top of last year’s big take of 44 million reds, tons of which remain backlogged in freezers.
Pink landings are expected to top 140 million, 22 percent higher than last summer. Pinks are tough to predict and some speculate the runs and catches could be higher.
Chum salmon harvests are expected to rebound this year, topping 17 million. For coho salmon, a harvest of 4.6 million would be down nearly 2 million from last year.
In the “can there be too much of a good thing” category — Alaska will be facing a strong headwind when it comes to selling all that salmon this year.
Buffeting sales will be a strong US dollar that makes seafood more expensive for our foreign customers with devalued currencies; conversely, it makes imports to the US a far cheaper buy.
The Russian embargo against US seafood continues, taking a big bite out of Alaska pink salmon roe sales; and large holdovers of Alaska canned salmon remain in warehouses.
Another broadside could come from Costco’s announcement over the weekend that it is switching the bulk of its fresh farmed salmon purchases from Chile to Norway to test the market’s appetite for the antibiotic-free fish. Costco purchases over 600,000 pounds of farmed salmon fillets each week.
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. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.