Alaska’s salmon catch has topped 226 million – that’s 36 million more fish than the preseason projection.
That production is dwarfed by Alaska’s biggest competitor – Russia – whose wild salmon catch of nearly 386 million fish is 13% more than expected.
Trade data show that the US so far this year has purchased nearly three million pounds of salmon from Russia valued at almost $11 million. Nearly half of the volume and value was from sockeye salmon.
Global market watcher Tradex predicts the combined 2021 wild salmon totals from Russia, the US, Japan, Canada and South Korea will top 2 billion pounds compared to 1.3 billion pounds last year.
But all that salmon will go into a tight market, says spokesperson Rochelle Reierson –
“Sockeye continues to remain short. We have not seen any twice frozen fillets on the market yet and there are virtually zero once frozen offers. We do not expect much more sockeye to come out for the remainder of the year and when the odd offer does appear, expect it to be very expensive. Our recommendation for sockeye buyers is to seek out an alternative Salmon product. For chum, there has not been a lot of product and we do not expect to see much more either. For pinks, even though the salmon season saw an abundance of pinks, there does not seem to be much pink offers available from Alaska right now.”
On the trade front: Russia has not purchased a single pound of US seafood since 2014 due to a trade embargo, yet Russian seafood imports to the US have increased by 173%.
And the continuing trade war with China has pushed up tariffs as high as 37% to 42% on seafood going to that country.
Seafood is Alaska’s top export by far and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute reports that the value going to China has dropped by about half a billion dollars in the last four years.