Land grown sockeye salmon  Credit: Langley Fish Farms, B.C.

Land grown sockeye salmon
Credit: Langley Fish Farms, B.C.

  Fish Radio
April 5, 2013

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Halibut and sablefish prices sink, Sitka herring stalls and farmed sockeye heads to market. More after this –

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 Find out who’s catching all that seafood and their favorite recipes at a new micro site from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – find it at

 Prices for the first fresh Alaska halibut tanked from previous years. First deliveries at Kodiak fetched $5.25 – $5.75 with a 20 pound split, and then dropped by about one dollar in the first week.  Likewise, Southeast halibut was at $5.25 to $5.50, well below last year. Market push back to high prices and lots of halibut holdovers in freezers are likely to keep a downward press on prices.   Less than one million pounds of halibut was landed by 153 deliveries in the first week of the halibut fishery with about 21 million pounds left to go. 

 Lots of buyers are still holding high priced sablefish, or black cod, and that market is down 40%. Starting prices based on five sizes ranged from around $5 to $3 a pound the first week, compared to $8 to $4 a pound last year. Most of the sablefish goes to Japan, where the yen value is down 20%.  For sablefish, just over one  million pounds was taken in 68 deliveries out of the 28 million pound quota. 

 Japan also buys all of Alaska’s herring roe, but they’ll get less than expected from Sitka. The fleet had taken about half of the quota in three openers. Boats were co-op fishing by Wednesday to try and scrape together the 6,000 tons left to go. No word yet on herring price.

 It’s hard to believe but Alaska’s salmon season will officially get underway next month with runs of kings and reds at Copper River.  The market outlook is good especially for sockeyes. 

 To that end – the world’s first land based commercially grown sockeye salmon is headed to market this month from Langley fish farms in British Columbia. The farm plans to produce about 11-hundred pounds of reds a week under the West Creek brand. The fish going to market weigh two to three pounds, half the size of wild sockeye salmon.

Learn more about salmon markets next week at ComFish 

Fish 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.