February 15, 2013

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … A favorable outlook for salmon markets.  More after this —

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In a word, the outlook for Alaska salmon markets this year is favorable. That’s the conclusion of  University of Alaska fisheries economist Gunnar Knapp in an overview to Alaska legislators.

Knapp cited three key factors for the short term outlook:  lower sockeye harvests, strong canned salmon markets with low inventories, and strengthening prices for farmed salmon.  Lower harvests can boost prices, and Alaska wild salmon tends to follow the price trend for farmed salmon, which dominates global markets. Farmed Atlantic salmon now accounts for two-thirds of world supply.

Other positive trends for Alaska show a steady increase in the value of pink salmon — nearly two-thirds of Alaska pink salmon production was frozen in 2011 instead of going into lower value cans, compared to less than 20 percent in the late 1990s.  

Less Alaska salmon is going to Japan, with more going to Europe and China, where it is reprocessed into portions and sent back to the US and other places for sale.  

The dockside value of Alaska’s salmon harvests went from $164 million in 2002 to $603 million in 2010. The wholesale value  since then has surged from $466 million in 2002 to $1.5 billion in 2011. Total processor margin and total ex-vessel value have risen by similar amounts. 

There are 27 different   limited entry salmon fisheries in Alaska and the increased permit values    shows that salmon fishermen have become increasingly optimistic about the future of Alaska ‘s salmon fisheries.

Knapp credits  the good showing  since 2002  to sustained and  effective niche marketing,  expanding  markets, new product forms and improved quality, and overall increased appetites for salmon.   But going into the 2013 season, he cautions that   only one thing is for sure —

  Cut:  The most certain thing is something will happen to surprise us.  

 In other salmon news – the FDA has extended the public comment period on genetically modified Frankenfish to April 26.

 ind a link to  Knapp’s salmon  report at Fish Radio on Facebook.

 Here is a link the fabulous Alaska salmon report:


 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 103 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities. www.oceanbeauty.com  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.