Fish Radio
May 21, 2010             Salmon value chains

Weight Watchers Salmon One of many retail products from AK salmon

Weight Watchers Salmon
One of many retail products from AK salmon

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — Following the salmon value chain from boat to throat. More after this … APA/NWTAAC

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 It takes quite a crew to get Alaska salmon from the fishing boat to dinner plates, and each gets a share of the goods.

Cut: We often get asked what share the fisherman retains and how much each segement of the supply chain gets for salmon. The answer depends on the species and the product you are talking about and what gear type – 5

Andy Wink is a fisheries economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau. A new report for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute tracks the value chain and payouts at ex-vessel for fishermen and first wholesale for processors.

Cut: And within Alaska, that is typically defined as the value of the product as it leaves Alaska. 2

The  chain illustrates three examples showing values  from high to low returns for fishermen.  With troll caught kings, the harvester adds most of the value before delivery. In this case, The processor just holds and ships the dressed fish out and is more of a distributor.

Cut: For that reason the fishermen gets a higher percent and in our example, the fisherman got 40% of the final retail value. 7

The value chain for sockeye fillets is far different.

Cut: In this example, a processors are taking on fish in the round , filleting them packaging them, freezing, you’ve got a lot more labor and capital expended. So the processors are adding a lot more value and for that reason, they get a larger share.

Canned product follows a similar pattern.   A comparison of exvessel  and first wholesale values by species from  2008  to 2011  shows nice gains throughout the chain.

Cut: What we found is the share of first wholesale value paid to fishermen has increased and we attribute that to higher prices for salmon in general. If salmon prices are higher at the wholesale level, processors are going to have more funds  to compete for fish. And that’s what we see going on here. 11

Forecasts call for less wild salmon  sockeyes  this year which could push up prices. And despite a surge in farmed fish from Chile,  Wink says Alaska wild salmon prices are holding strong.


ish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.   In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

Value chain - troll kings               Value chain-sockeye fillet                                                                                                                                                

Value chain - canned pinks