Forces are aligned for a nice pay day for Alaska’s salmon fishery. 

“If you look at all the factors in terms of strong exports in 2017, good inventory levels here and just the general supply of fish – what looks like pretty strong demand, there is room to be optimistic about the 2018 salmon season.”  

Garrett Evridge is a fisheries analyst at the McDowell Group.

Last year Alaska seafood exports set records in terms of volume and value – 1.1 billion metric tons valued at $3.45 billion; Alaska salmon accounted for 22 percent of the volume and 36 percent of the value.

For Alaska, a smaller salmon forecast of 149 million fish, down 34 percent from last year, also is likely to boost demand.

Another favorable change for exports is the declining dollar of the value over the past year. The dollar   has weakened 11 percent against the Euro, 9 percent against the British pound, 5 percent against the Japanese yen, and 7 percent against the Chinese yuan.

That makes Alaska salmon and other seafood more affordable to those top overseas customers. On the home front, it will make imports of salmon from other countries more expensive.

“Maybe the domestic buyer will have to compete a bit more if demand looks stronger out of these export markets. One thing that it does do it will make importing competing salmon a bit more expensive. If you think about the farmed Chilean salmon or salmon from Norway, a weak dollar against those currencies will function to just make those competing species a bit more expensive.”  

That also will apply to Canada where – if it materializes –  a big sockeye run is expected at nearby British Columbia.

 “About every four years we expect a relatively large harvest from the Fraser River sockeye run in B.C. – in 2014 B.C. produced about 83 million pounds of salmon and sockeye was the largest component of that.”

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A weaker dollar also will make salmon from Russia and Japan more expensive for U.S. buyers.

Russia, which had become a $60 million customer of primarily pink salmon roe, has banned all imports of U.S. seafood since 2014.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to send millions of pounds of seafood into the U.S. For 2017, Russia sent nearly four million pounds of frozen sockeye salmon to the US, valued at just over $13 million, a $2 million increase over the previous year.

Find links to trade data here –