Market watchers say get your Pacific salmon and halibut now as supplies tighten heading into a big lineup of holidays.

Alaska salmon competes in a tough global market and supplies are down by all producers.

Even wild salmon supplies from Russia, Alaska’s biggest competitor, have come in well below forecast at 845 million pounds, the lowest poundage since 2009. By comparison, Alaska’s total salmon catch for 2020 totaled about 518 million pounds.

The overall supply of frozen sockeye is considered low, with Alaska’s catch coming in at just over 46 million and fisheries from Canada and the west coast struggling to produce any reds at all.

Watch for the market to remain short says Kyla Ganton of Tradex, a global seafood trading company based in Canada for over 30 years.

“With a strong fresh market and continued consumer demand, we don’t believe there will be much H+G Sockeyes after December and 2-4 pounders will remain short for the foreseeable future.”

Tradex says it’s even tighter for chum salmon.

Alaska’s low harvest of 8.7 million fish, compared with a catch that’s usually closer to 20 million, has combined with lousy landings of about one million fish each from British Columbia and the west coast. Ganton says that has “flipped the market on its head.”

 “With Puget Sound’s Chum fishery essentially finished for the year, we recommend you start thinking about your future buys and the outlook of using another species. The market will hit a point where Chums will be unavailable.”

Undercurrent News reports the US exported 2,773mt of chums worth $7.49m through September based on US trade data. Average export value rose by 4% year to year to $2.70kg ($5.94/lb)

Supplies of Pacific halibut also are tight heading into a lineup of holidays, including the two-week Chinese New Year starting on February 12, followed by Lent beginning early on February 17.

About 22.5 million pounds of Pacific halibut is available for market and Ganton says tight supplies could have buyers looking east.

“Halibut buyers that should have purchased all their needs before the season ended are about to find themselves in a predicament and may have to look for alternatives such as Atlantic Halibut. Do keep in mind the Canadian Pacific Halibut fishery has its season extended for fishing until December 7th. With that said, we urgently advise you to get your purchasing needs in now – long enough to get you through to Chinese New Year.”