Fish Radio
Sockeye salmon market gets even tighter
March 26, 2015

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – More signs point to a tough year for Alaska sockeye sales. That’s up after this –                   

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Alaska seafood is the second most recognized brand name at the nation’s top 500 restaurant chains. That’s due in great part to the team at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Learn more about ASMI’s programs and strategies at www.alaskaseafood.org

“Desperate to sell” and “running scared” is how industry insiders are summing up the market for sockeye salmon heading into the 2015 season. Driving the dire outlook are freezers plugged with tons of fish from last year’s big red pack at Bristol Bay – total poundage was up 38% – ; and currency exchange rates that play against Alaska’s foreign sockeye customers.

Undercurrentnews reports that the Japanese yen, for example, continues to slide, showing a 35% decline against a strong US dollar since 2012. And the value of the Euro has plummeted 18% in one year. A market push that began last December priced 4-6 pound sockeyes at $3.60/lb at wholesale; Undercurrent said that’s now dropped to $2.65-$2.80/lb.

Adding to the downward press is the call for another huge sockeye haul at Bristol Bay this summer of nearly 38 million fish, the third largest since 1960. Purchases outlined by the Bay’s 14 processors falls short of the catch forecast by 6 percent.

And as always, Alaska’s wild salmon faces stiff competition from increased floods of farmed fish from Norway and Chile. A strong US dollar means it’s cheaper than ever to buy seafood imports.

Alaska’s lone seafood marketing arm has come to the rescue with a $1 million infusion of cash aimed at boosting sockeye sales.

“We’re targeting in particular the UK as well as in Japan, Canada, particularly with canned sockeye there, and domestically with retailers to the tune of 6,000-7,000 individual stores running sockeye promotions through the spring as well as a joint promotion with Chateau St. Michele that will reach another 10,000 or so stores.”

Tyson Fick is Communications Director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI).

 ASMI also is advertising in overseas media, and working directly with buyers to move the needle on salmon awareness.

 “As we look to take advantage of some of these larger food trends – knowing where your food comes from, local seafood, things like that.”

 Find out more about sockeye market outlooks at www.alaskafishradio.com – And don’t miss ComFish next week at Kodiak – www.comfishalaska.com

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

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