An economic study released by the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. shows that for the past five years PWSAC has been a key supplier of Alaska pink salmon, producing 43 percent of the statewide pink salmon harvest.
In 2010 along, PWSAC hatcheries produced 46 percent of the statewide pink harvest, the study said.
Large harvests of PWSAC pinks have provided the industry with the volume and economies of scale needed to fulfill demand, PWSAC said.
Conclusions of the McDowell Economic Impact Study were released April 5.
The study also found that pink salmon product-form shift from canned to frozen production had a major impact on the wholesale value of pink salmon products, which in turn increased the ex-vessel price for pinks. The wholesale price of frozen pinks climbed 37 percent to $1.27 a pound.
The report also drew several other conclusions.
One was that the increased volume of pink salmon harvested and canned from Prince William Sound enabled other regions to efficiently focus on frozen production. Another was that more health-conscious consumers are turning to wild salmon to meet their needs for alternative sources of protein.
New consumers also have entered the market, due to widely available and inexpensive farmed salmon, driving up demand for all sources, including Alaska wild caught salmon.
Consumers are more aware of the environmental impact of their spending choices too, with the state’s emphasis on responsible and sustainable resource management The economy has also increased demand for budget-friendly salmon choices. Over 50 new value-added products featuring pink salmon, including salmon burgers, have helped to fill the void.
Dave Reggiani, general manager for PWSAC, said the 2010 season produced the largest run of pink salmon in the history of the fishery, with more than 50 million fish caught and processed in just three weeks, “underscoring PWSAC’s importance as both an economic drier for the state and a commodity source for global markets.
“Increased demand for Alaska seafood and value-added salmon products boosts the demand for the enhanced salmon fisheries,” Reggiani said. “This makes reliable and sustainable returns even more critical.”