While this summer’s salmon prices still remain mostly under wraps the Covid-virus has pushed down prices for other popular species.
Halibut, for example, is below $4 a pound at several major ports compared to a statewide average of $5.32 last year. And Dungeness crab At Southeast is down to around $1.72 a pound compared to $2.97 last season.
You can track dock prices, production, and processor sales for nearly every fish and shellfish species that crosses the Alaska docks going back to 1984.
It is called the Commercial Operator’s Annual Report, or COAR, and is compiled each year from inputs by Alaska processors and posted at the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game website.
Here’s a sampler of some average prices from 2019 –
Tanner crab was at $4.12 last year, snow crab averaged $3.98, golden kings were at $6.23 and red king crab averaged $11.77.
Statewide average prices for lingcod were at $1.79, Pacific cod at $0.43, sablefish averaged $4 a pound in 2019, big skates at $0.33 and pollock averaged $0.16 per pound.
Coonstripe shrimp averaged $7.96 a pound, sidestripes were at $1.32 and big spot shrimps at $8.45.
Roe herring wholesaled for processors at $0.41 a pound last year – $.10 cents a pound was paid to fishermen.
For 24 kinds of rockfish – yelloweye, or red snapper, was the most valuable at $.1.33; black rockfish averaged $0.75. The lowest valued rockfish was harlequin at $.08 a pound.
For eleven kinds of flounders – rex sole was the priciest at $0.29. Pesty arrowtooth flounder fetched $0.06 on average for fishermen.
Octopus average $0.61 at the docks; big skates brought $0.45.
For salmon — Statewide in 2019, Chinook salmon averaged $4.36, sockeyes were at $1.61, cohos at $1.13, pinks at $0.33, and chums averaged $0.53 for fishermen.
If you’re not involved in fishing, why should you care about fish prices?
With Alaska’s catches at 5 to 6 billion pounds per year, adding just one penny per pound to the total catch makes a difference of nearly one million dollars in landing taxes for state and local governments each.
There is a glimmer of good news: Information Resources Incorporated, which has tracked consumer supermarket purchases for over 40 years, shows that at the end of June, seafood posted the most significant growth of any category for 10 weeks straight, up 64% from a year ago.