Fish Radio

Salmon markets have some bright points

June 17, 2015

This is Fish Radio. Some bright points for Alaska salmon markets. I’ll tell you more after this –

Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg works hard for fishermen so they can do what they do best – fish!  Visit Olivia at

 Want great seafood recipes, from fast and easy to gourmet feasts? Find hundreds of heart healthy recipes from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute at .

Salmon sales and prices have been in a slump all year.  There’s an overall global glut – as Alaska is poised for its biggest salmon harvest in 20 years with huge runs forecasted for both reds and pinks.  The single toughest thing stacked against overseas seafood sales is the strong US dollar.

Overall the dollar is up anywhere from 11 to 45 percent or more in some cases, versus the currencies of our buyers. And that makes it really difficult to maintain pricing because those buyers have to pay a higher price or it has to adjust and typically it adjusts somewhere in the middle. 3  

Andy Wink is a Seafood Industry Economist with the McDowell Group. Exports typically account for 60-70 percent of Alaska’s wholesale seafood sales. the strong dollar will force people to turn more to US retail, and  Wink says that could be a good thing.

It’s not just the world species. But the hope and expectation is this will entice retailers because anytime you’re able to buy at lower wholesale prices typically you’re able to turn  better margins and hopefully that will get them to do more promotions and spur more sales. Because we certainly need the sales volume – after last year’s run of sockeye and the 2013 record pink run, and heading into this year, we’ve got a lot of product out there and that is great for long term. Because building that consumption is going to build demand. 11

The lower salmon prices have been embraced at retail, especially for sockeyes, where major chains report increased sales from 69 to 243 percent over the same time   last year. To move the pack, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has pushed the Alaska brand at over 5,000 Cook It Frozen demos during that time.

Wink says the lower seafood prices are playing well against other “what’s for dinner” items, such as poultry, pork, and beef, which is at an all time high.

So for the time being, I think Alaska seafood products are at a better value than they’ve been overall in a long time relative to other proteins. 8

Other bright spots for Alaska: farmed salmon sales are in a slump, and look for fewer sockeyes from Canada.

Now this year, Bristol Bay has a big forecast but Fraser River is expected to be down. It typically only pops every four years so that should be less supply. On the farmed salmon side, the expectation is that production will be pretty flat. So that’s really nice. Anytime you see flat production on the farmed salmon industry it pretty much feels like taking supply off the table because it is grown so steadily over time and people factor that growth in. 13

The 2015 Sockeye Market Report was done for  the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association site. Find links there and at /


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. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.