Fish Radio

Halibut prices start higher, good signs for salmon

March 23, 2016


This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Halibut starts out higher and some good signs for salmon. More after this –

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Halibut prices started out higher than last year by about 25-cents a pound at major Alaska ports. 

The halibut fishery opened March 19 and first deliveries fetched in the mid-$6 range at Homer, where only two small landings were made so far.

By far most of the fish was crossing the docks in Southeast Alaska, where fishing was called “fantastic.” Prices were reported at $6.45 for 1-20 pounders, $6.65 for 20-40s and $6.85 a pound for 40 ups. Another major was paying $6.50-$6.75 with a 20 pound split.

Halibut prices usually drop a bit after the first week or so into the fishery. Sales after Lent ends at Easter could tell the tale.

Some hopeful signs for Alaska salmon are starting to surface.

A failure of local farmed and wild salmon fisheries in Japan has spawned a surge of demand there for sockeyes.  Alaska sockeye exports to Japan from October through December were up 320 percent over the previous year says Market watchers expect sales to remain ‘substantially’ higher as inventories clear prior to the new fishing season.

Misfortune with farmed salmon also bodes well for Alaska.

Supplies from Chile to the US are expected to drop by 20 percent this year due to a toxic algal bloom that’s killed nearly 24 million fish at 38 fish farms, enough to fill 14 Olympic swimming pools. Financial Times reports that Chilean salmon prices increased 25 percent to nearly $5 a pound since December.

Norway, the world’s largest farmed salmon producer, is unlikely to fill the shortfall, as that country also deals with fish loss   due to disease outbreaks. A spokesman said: “We expect to see a global salmon supply shock.”

Get salmon market updates with Gunnar Knapp this month April 1 at ComFish –

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture.    In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.