A drop in dock prices stemming from the Covid pandemic was the biggest hit to Alaska fishermen over the past year, followed by planning and logistics.

Those are just a few of the takeaways from a report compiled by McKinley Research Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute at its recent Board of Directors meeting.

Dockside values were down due to a mix of biological factors and Covid disruptions. The report said actual 2020 revenues may go up due to increases in post-season payments to salmon harvesters.

At Bristol Bay, for example, many received up to 45-cents more per pound on top of the average base price of 70-cents last summer.

Of roughly 100 fishermen, nearly half said they received Covid relief payments, not including the Paycheck Protection Program; the same number said they did not. Of that, 21% said it was due to a lack of awareness about relief payments.

For Alaska processors, costs above and beyond those normally incurred added up to roughly $70 million last year. They expect to pay over $100 million this year due mostly to travel and quarantine related expenses. Processors also saw a 50% decrease in workforce changes along with reduced employee morale.

Alaska’s seafood industry reflected a 21% decline for crew licenses from the previous year and a 31% decline in peak employment for processing workers.

The value of the 2020 harvest was down 20-25% to an estimated $1.5 billion and down 16% in export value and volume from 2019.

Disaster declarations were posted for eight Alaska salmon fisheries in 2020, one of the worst years since 1970s.

Meanwhile, flatfish harvests held steady at 500 million pounds and has the potential to have years with more flatfish production than salmon.

The Alaska Dept. of Revenue spring forecast estimates that fisheries business and landing taxes for FY2021 will total $47.8 million, a 19% decrease from last year’s $58.8 million.

Covid impacts are expected to be even more challenging this year, due to trade disputes, climate change impacts and increased competition including from plant-based foods.

Meanwhile, the ASMI report said increased seafood demand and growth in direct-to-consumer sales is exciting and the Alaska brand remains strong and “increasingly relevant.”

Comments

comments