Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BBRSDA Releases Economic Impact Report

An analysis of Alaska’s 2015 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon season released on Nov. 16 notes the dramatic drop in prices paid to harvesters, along substantial decline in Bristol Bay driftnet permit values.

The report prepared by the McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska, for the Bristol Bay
Regional Seafood Development Association said that there is a strong link between wholesale and ex-vessel prices.

Through September of this year the estimated Bristol Bay driftnet permit value was down 20 percent from its peak of $169,900 in March. The trailing six-month average first wholesale price of frozen headed and gutted Bristol Bay sockeye was down 32 percent for the same period.

Changes in wholesale prices for frozen sockeye have been a leading indicator of changes in permit values in recent years, and not surprisingly, declining wholesale prices and ex-vessel value suggest the value of Bristol Bay driftnet permits may fall further, the report said.

On the bright side, an extensive review of proprietary retail data on sockeye sales suggests retailers are reacting to lower wholesale prices by significantly increasing off-peak promotions and slowly lowering prices, the report said.

Alaska producers increased retail sales volume through a successful series of in-store sockeye demonstrations between April and early June, coordinated by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.  Additional demonstrations were held in October and more are planned for the 2016 Lenten season.

The complete report is online at

The BBRSDA also announced this past week that Becky Martello, development director for the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, has been named as executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, effective Dec. 14.

Martello grew up in Naknek, and her earnings as a commercial fish harvester in Bristol Bay financed her college education, which earned her a bachelor’s degree in business administration in management at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Her graduate work there focused on development of a marketing plan for a proposed salmon processing business based in Naknek.

In addition to her commercial fishing experience and work at AMSEA, Martello has worked for the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Community Development Association.

BBRSDA officials said Martello’s experience in the professional world exposed her to the policy side of Alaska fisheries and enabled her to work with rural communities from a development standpoint.

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